Thursday, July 24, 2008

Diamond Dead

By Paul Gillis

Late last Friday I went to experience "Diamond Dead" at the Warehouse Mainstage. It's quite a show. Landless Theatre Co. does a great job with it, and obviously has lots of fun. The musical numbers had the audience on their feet, rocking along with the beat.

The story, such as it is, is a very silly horror sendup, penned by the composer of "The Rocky Horror Show". It's sort of like "Spinal Tap" meets "Shaun of the Dead." Diamond Dead are a rock band, killed in a (not-quite) accident. But they return to life as flesh-eating zombies. Despite their antisocial habits, they become a huge hit.

Much of the action is precipitated by a southern revivalist preacher, who launches a crusade to rid the world of these satanic creatures. His style & self-assurance are magnificent. But his Achilles heel is his habit of patronizing a very sexy dominatrix, Mistress Aria. It just happens that she is the (still-living) singer for Diamond Dead. Their scenes are great--and since the band has come to Washington, we learn about another one of Aria's high-profile clients.

As you might expect, the play ends with a monumental bloodbath (luckily, not recreated with the realistic effects used in modern zombie movies.) But finally evil triumphs, and the victims are all resurrected with a little help from Satan. It winds up with a great song about going to hell for the rock and roll.

I've read that George Romero has long been planning a movie of this story. If it's half as much fun as Landless Theatre's show, it will be worth watching. (Though as I mentioned, I'm no fan of Romero's extremely graphic gore.)

There are three more shows of "Diamond Dead" at the Warehouse: Thursday the 24th at 6:00, Friday the 25th at 10:00, and Saturday the 26th at noon.

To see more pictures of this show, click here.

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