New Zombie Burlesque Is Exuberantly Undead—and Raunchy Good Fun

zombie_burlesque_planet_hollywood_no_credit_01_WEBMemo to Stephen Sondheim:

Hey Stevie, did you write something called “Eating Penis Doesn’t Make You Gay”? Just wondering, ’cause I heard those lyrics—and more like ’em—set to your melody of “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Actually, a funny thing happened on the way out of Zombie Burlesque—I was excited. Exhilarated. Knocked on my ass by a ferocious piece of entertainment.

Precisely as advertised, David Saxe’s new V Theater offering at Planet Hollywood is deliciously old-school burlesque performed by raunchy, talented undead people. Or exceptionally alive performers with a pale-white/pea green tint and blood-red accents.

Inside a venue dubbed Club Z, the carnal-crazed shtick-and-song-fest comes at us like a hurtling boulder. Backed by the seven-piece “Live Band,” the show launches with a video parody returning us to Atomic Era Vegas, explaining that zombies stopped devouring the population after reaching a truce with President Dwight D. Eisenhower and are fed live prisoners instead. Now they’re happy to entertain us.

In the early, aforementioned tune, one of the undead assures another that he’s still a straight zombie after munching on a disembodied schlong. Zombie Burlesque gets stranger and funnier from there.

Playing Zombie Host, Enoch Augustus Scott is balls-to-the-wall hilarious, his character an undead mirror image of Joel Grey’s Cabaret MC, outrageously outfitted in white dinner jacket, leopard-print fez and bowtie. “There’s no lip-syncing here!” he declares as a snippet of a song beginning with “Oops” plays. “There’s a zombie around the corner who does that,” he says, to delighted “oooohs.” Outlining the advantages of zombie physiology, he pretends to stick a pointer down a female zombie’s throat. “Look, no gag reflex!”

Then, with a cast headlined by ex-Pussycat Doll and Peepshow ensemble member Sophia Monica—and with strong production values for the V—Zombie Burlesque busts out of the gate:

Zombies leap from the grave to jitterbug. A zombie drag queen shimmies to “I Feel Pretty.” A zombie televangelist leads a zombie gospel chorus. They stage a sendup of The Newlywed Game. They tell good groaner jokes. (“My girlfriend broke up with me. She wants to eat other people.”) An undead ballerina glides to the Cranberries’ “Zombie.” They sing “I Need to Eat Your Brains” while lurching into the crowd to bury their faces in our heads. They play grab-ass, grab-boob and grab-crotch during the raucous “Snatch and Grab It.” They boogie their undead tailbones off. As a finale, they turn toward us with ravenous expressions as Scott grins and purrs: “This just became dinner theater.”

No, there’s no nudity, per se. Yes, guys and gals get down to their skivvies and pasties. Oh, and they hand out Jello shots.

Would it be a terribly obvious joke to claim Zombie Burlesque is one of the liveliest new shows on the Strip? Or that these undead leave no dead moments?

Too bad. It is, and they do.

Any show that turns a detached penis into snack food deserves a look, Stephen Sondheim’s dignity notwithstanding.

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