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The Arts
10.20.10

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Phaedra

Sex on a Saucer

Spreckels' 'Zombies' a giddy sci-fi spoof"

By David Templeton


Wise up, globe-trotter! No self-respecting, husky and well-fed buck would subserviate to a bevy of zaftig vixens!" Take cover, because hilariously overwritten lines like that—this one delivered by a government scientist addressing a sexy opera-singing alien bent on kidnapping all of Earth's "virilitous he-specimens"—come flying toward the audience at the speed of light in the ultra-campy sci-fi musical Zombies from the Beyond. Presented through Halloween (perfect timing!) by Odyssey Stage Company, James Valcq's comic spoof is a playful homage to 1950s alien-invasion movies, and the songs capture the goofy, pre-'60s rock and roll innocence of the era. The story takes place at and around the Milwaukee Space Center, where Maj. Malone (Steve Kirkbride), with his super-competent second-in-command Rick Jones (Nick Chuba, a first-rate physical comedian), are monitoring the skies for signs of alien existence—and/or Soviet aggression. Rick has been courting the major's high-IQ daughter Mary (Katie Kelley, above), and with the arrival of the brilliant, pipe-smoking scientist Trenton Corbett (a pitch-perfect Mark Bradbury, above), romantic entanglements and a bunch of singing-and-dancing quickly ensue.

But the real action begins when a flying saucer arrives over Milwaukee, followed by the appearance of Zombina (Tina Lloyd Meals), the leader of a recently all-female planet. With no men to propagate their species, Zombina has come to destroy Earth and enslave the men, turning them into zombies with the brain-scalding power of her singing voice. Directed with obvious glee by Carl Hamilton, the production and the acting are occasionally uneven, but the strong performances by Chuba, Kelley and Bradbury—who do wonders with the script's outrageous onslaught of one-liners—are reason enough to catch the show.

The entire affair is like an alien-shaped cupcake—weird, sweet, not terribly healthy, but somehow impossible to resist. Zombies from the Beyond runs Thursday–Sunday through Oct.31 at Spreckels Performing Arts Center. Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday–Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm. 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $12–$28. 707.588.3400.


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