THEATRE AT HOME REVIEW: Night of The Living Dead™ - The Remix ★★★★

Night of The Living Dead™ - The Remix
Leeds Playhouse
Friday 24th January - Saturday 15th February 2020

Digitally Streamed on Imitating The Dog’s Website following the closure of it’s tour on Saturday 14th March in Dundee, this ‘remix’ of the 1968 cult classic film is rather astonishing in it’s own right; originally made on a budget of just $114,000 at the time, George A. Romero’s directional piece went on to gross over $30 million worldwide, and this shot for shot remake over 50 years later is a clear dedication and has the drive from it’s stimulus to create tension in the most unexpected ways.

With a blank backdrop of white walls and thinly layered strips for performers to enter and exit, Imitating The Dog’s ensemble members are thrown into the action of being set the task to take the 96 minute movie and re-create the whole movie with just few cameras (mixture of handheld and tripod), operated in turns from the company of eight performers, as well as a foley artist in the corner to create the ambience and sounds of multiple tools such as a hammer, crowbar, and planks of wood being dented to block doors. Frankly it’s an achievement like no other, with two screens above the stage side by side to show the original movie compared to the live remake.

Directors' Andrew Quick and Pete Broos’ Remix however is defined due to the policial stamp thrown in with presidential speeches from the likes of John F Kennedy and Nelson Mandela, which add background substance to the piece to showcase the racial injustices throughout the film, as they overlap TV and Radio Broadcasts. Though these moments are few and far between, the short visual bursts do become alienating from the initial concept, taking us away from tension of some immaculate scenes performed prior, especially in the climax of the film, which instead of having us leave with the bleak finale floating in our heads, we are left with one performer situated at the top of a stairwell reciting Mandela’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, before continuing with the final moments of the cult classic original.

Though the staged footage is filmed through a black and white grain to stay true to its original storytelling, moments of vibrant colour splash onto the stage, with Andrew Crofts’ design developing red floods seeping through into the action sequences involving the living dead to enhance the visuals for it’s audience watching in the auditorium, whilst Simon Wainwright’s spectacular projection design lends itself artistic illustrational beauty to devour at particular moment, something that I have not seen such high calibre from since Sally Cookson’s stage adaption of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls in 2018.

Overall, even though at certain moments Quick and Brooks’ production sidetracks into a political stance that leaves you bereft and distant from the nature of George A Romero’s 1968 classic, Night of The Living Dead™ - The Remix is a remarkable feat of technical engineering and precisional timing throughout, that never lets up from its actor-technicians ability to work with their stimulus and giving the cult feature film the homage it deserves, over 50 years after its original release. 

You can stream Night of The Living Dead™ - The Remix now by Clicking Here.

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