ZOMBIE ATTACK. Written and performed by Gaëtan Schmid. Directed by Andrew Laubscher. Alexander Bar.
MEGAN FURNISS reviews
If you’re quick you can still catch a couple more shows of Zombie Attack at the Alexander Bar and Theatre before it heads off to the NAF. And you should, because this short, sharp and totally delicious show is a treat. Mind you, if you don’t catch it now it is certain to reappear on Cape Town stages.
Gaëtan meets us at the door to the theatre, dressed in his familiar ‘giving a lecture ala The Dog’s Bollocks’ white shirt and black pants. Zombie Attack is billed as ‘what happens when you suffer from panic before having to stand up in front of the whole class’, but it really is just an excuse to place all the action at a tiny school desk.
Gaëtan first leads us through (at speed-dating speed) a brilliant prologue, with the complicated visual aid of Post-Its that track, in a convoluted and crazy way, the linear journey of the hero and his antagonists, through references to the movies that will be referenced later on. It’s mad, and funny, and quite brilliant.
And then it happens. Accompanied by a wild, intense, unbelievably well edited sound track of movie music and bits of dialogue and even sound effects, Gaëtan performs a tiny physical odyssey, sitting at his tiny desk, as he is pursued by the ‘zombies’ of fear, and he makes his heroic, and sometimes very shooty getaway.
Insanely clever and satisfying
It is pure, clean genius, where every moment is intended, brilliantly executed, hilarious and clever. Gaëtan showcases his talent and skill for perfect physical comedy and mime; and the references to movies (most very familiar to any movie fan, are original and creative. There is no time to breathe as we are led from car chase through shoot-out to Top Gun air battle, falling through space or travelling at hyper speed into it. And then there is Christopher Walken’s famous watch scene from Pulp Fiction. How did we get there? I’m not even sure! I love that Gaëtan is able to capture changes in scale – he zooms in and back out again, from characters that are fingers, to a close-up moment of a face in shock. He edits, in a completely filmic way, his own short version, and then teaser, and trailer version of the big story. It’s insanely clever and satisfying.
I was delighted and exhausted as I left the theatre 40 minutes later. The premise of Zombie Attack is a very thin one. But who cares? This is fast, sexy, funny physical theatre and it is great.
What: Zombie Attack
Where and when: Alexander Bar and Theatre until 22 June 2019