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Tickets are free and show runs through July 7th.

By: Jul. 06, 2024
Review: TWELFTH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (OR WHAT YOU KILL) at Loud Fridge Theatre Group  Image
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Loud Fridge invites audiences to experience a Shakespearean classic with a comedic horror twist in “Twelfth Night of the Living Dead (Or What You Kill)” for free at the City Heights Performance Annex through July 7th.

This world premiere, written by A.J. Schaar and directed by Kate Rose Reynolds, re-imagines the original story and what happens after the shipwreck in “Twelfth Night” with one significant twist. Viola ( Kaylin Saur), who has been separated from her twin Sebastian (Hayden St. Clair) in a shipwreck, washes up on the shores of Illyria as a zombie, having not survived the initial sinking but has acquired a sudden desire for flesh.

The play is a fun mashup that balances the original plot with zombie and horror movie tropes. Viola in disguise as “Cesario” finds herself working for Duke Orsino (Nick Kennedy), who says he is in love with Lady Olivia (Robert Del Pino). Unfortunately,  Olivia keeps rejecting his advances due to being in mourning (also she's not interested in the Duke). Undeterred, the Duke sends Viola as a messenger to convey his love, but Olivia finds Cesario more intriguing than the Duke.

Review: TWELFTH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (OR WHAT YOU KILL) at Loud Fridge Theatre Group  Image
Robert Del Pino, left, Ruth Russell and William BJ Robinson in Loud Fridge Theatre Group’s “Twelfth Night of the Living Dead (or What You Kill).” (Daren Scott)

Meanwhile, Olivia is ignoring another potential suitor, knight Sir Andrew (Julia Giolzetti) who is friends with Olivia’s drunkard Uncle Sir Toby (Danny Campbell). Maria (Donae Swanson) is Olivia’s servant but is friendly with Sir Toby, Feste (William BJ Robinson) is the household jester, and both happily join with Toby and Andrew in with a shared sense of mischief and a hatred of Olivia’s servant, Malvolio (Ashley “Lee” Engelman) and plot to make a fool out of him.

When Antonio (Fredy Gomez-Cruz) finds Sebastian and helps him onto the island the chances of being bitten are doubled.

While all this happens, foreboding shadows show growling and lumbering individuals causing havoc and slowly coming closer. Feste seems to be the only one to take notice of this, while the nobles are blissfully unaware of anything that isn’t what they want to hear. The show makes it through most of the major plot points while slowly picking off the occasional servant or two before moving on to others with the oblivious nobles none the wiser.

The show is clever and creative, using shadow puppetry, and a lot of fast and funny physical comedy when incorporating the zombies.  One highlight of this is when the Duke requests music and, as musicians play and Feste sings, the temptation of this many people and the noise proves too much. Viola goes after the triangle player (Lilliana Talwatte) whose confusion and horror grow as she tries to continue to play music and not get bitten.

Saur’s Viola does not speak, but her performance of the facial expressions, vocalizations, and physicality is both funny and fierce. St. Clair as Viola’s twin Sebastian is so successful at matching Saur’s look and physicality that it is hard to believe there are two of them until you see them both on stage.  Shout out to the movement director Taylor Jo Oxley and the fight choreographers Nicolas A. Castillo and Kaivan Mohsenzadeh for helping to build this physicality with the performers. 

Robinson as Feste has a wonderful presence and brings a sense of mischief and melancholy that fits the proceedings. Other standouts include Campbell as Sir Toby, who has an impressive number of beverages on his person, Giolzetti as the sweet and simple Sir Andrew, and Engelman as an excellently pompous Malvolio.

The set by Michael Amira Temple allows for quick scene changes but always has a spot where the shadows of zombies can be seen steadily approaching.  Lighting by Emily Johansson builds tension in the approaching bloodthirsty hoard.  Costumes by Heather Nunn blend gender fluidity and modern and Elizabethan garb to showcase each character to great effect.

The play would benefit from some editing both for time and for clarity in some sections. As someone who loves horror movies, I have questions about the zombie lore and rules in this universe, but this is to enjoy not to overthink.

Shakespeare and zombies may both be immortal, but this production of “Twelfth Night of the Living Dead (Or What You Kill)” is not and is running at the City Heights Performance Annex through July 7th.  Tickets are free and donations are encouraged.  Ticket and showtime information can be found at

Photo Credit: Daren Scott and Loud Fridge Theatre Group- Fredy Gomez Cruz as Antonio and Hayden St. Clair as Sebastian


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