The Revenants

By Scott T. Barsotti

The Revenants
The Revenants

Directed by Anne Adams

Produced by WildClaw Theatre

At Angel Island

Zombie thriller quickly wears out its welcome

WildClaw Theatre’s production values from the scary sound effects (by Mikhail Fiksel) to the eerie lighting (by Paul Foster) on the realistic set (by Charlie Athanas) with fabulous makeup (by Sania Panayotova) and costumes (by Allison Greaves) are the real stars of The Revenants.  Add excellent zombie work from Brian Amidei and Laura Hooper and fine turns form Jenny Strubin and Ryan Patrick Dolan and The Revenants should be a terrific show—right? Wrong. The problem is the script.

The Revenants focuses on two married couples barricaded in a basement during a violent uprising of the undead. We never learn too many details except that a zombie bite makes a human into a zombie. As supplies run low, the couple becomes depressed and hungry. Gary (Ryan Patrick Dolan) ventures out to get food and drink. Karen (Jenny Strubin) then proceeds to argue and scream at Molly (Laura Hooper) and Joe (Brian Amidei)—the two zombies chained up in the basement. Karen has a slim hope that the two zombie friends may suddenly be cured or that they may return to being human once more. Karen and Gary both get too close at time to the zombies who jump at the chance to grab and bite their human captures.

The Revanants
The Revanants

The main problem I have with this promising production lies in the flawed writing by Scott T. Barsotti. Why would Gary, and especially Karen, risk getting too close to the zombies if a bite would make them into zombies? Karen gets too close several times while Gary is away with dire consequences. Why would she do that? Is she so committed to helping their friends that she is reckless? Her love for Gary makes her hide her affliction from him. This unsatisfying conclusion is predictable. I did expect more of a story. Gary’s reaction shows his true love for Karen—too bad the conclusion is so obvious. Too bad the writing isn’t as good as the production values.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

At Angel Island, 731 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago,IL, www.wildclawtheatre.com, tickets $20, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 1 hour & 20 minutes without intermission, through May 24, 2009