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Zombie Prom at Phoenix Theatre

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Atomic comic musical radiates 50s-style tunes
Zombie Prom, musical, theatre, comedy, play, 1950s, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, Grease, Happy Days, performing arts, stage
Zombie Prom features Megan Kerr, left, as Candy, Kathryn McCarthy as Toffee, Gabriella Guidone as Coco and Jayde Clark as Ginger. Picture: Sally Newman

A case of atomic adolescent angst is set to explode among Grease-style tunes and Happy Days humour when a zombie is let loose during a 1950s rock'n'roll musical this September.

Presented by Dark Psychic Productions at Phoenix Theatre, Zombie Prom is set at Enrico Fermi High School where the pretty senior girl Toffee falls for the class bad boy. Family pressure forces her to end the romance and he charges off on his motorbike to a nuclear waste dump and returns glowing, determined to reclaim Toffee's heart and graduate high school.

"It's a case of boy meets girl, boy gets dumped, boy then takes a headlong dive into a nuclear silo and boy returns to win back the one he loves," director Ryan S. McNally said. "The show has that cheesy '50s humour similar to Happy Days, so it's fun for the entire 'nuclear' family.

"Zombie Prom is full of dancing and singing and leans more towards a pop-rock opera with an underscore through the majority of the show. The songs themselves are upbeat, camp and super-catchy and do an awesome job telling the narrative it has strong similarities to Grease in the sense of sound and feel."

Zombie Prom, musical, theatre, comedy, play, 1950s, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, Grease, Happy Days, performing arts, stage
Chealsea Searie, left, Jasmine Glenister, Bernadette Ward and Charlotte Williams as the Motorwise Guys and Girls in Zombie Prom. Picture: Sally Newman

Acting from age 13, Ryan created Dark Psychic Productions in 2012, producing six shows and four showcases over the past three years with many staged at Phoenix Theatre. His desire to direct Zombie Prom came from the idea of working on something that is both fun for the audience and all cast, crew and band members involved.

"My priorities have changed over the years," Ryan said. "I want to produce something that is going to be remembered but, at the same time, take the audience away from reality for a few hours. Also having a cast say they have had a wonderful experience with the show is another of my main goals.

"Zombie Prom does have its share of challenges, including changing someone from human to zombie in 13 minutes. There are maybe one or two blackouts in the whole show as each scene rolls into the next and there are three set changes in the first song, so I've had to be creative with my set and how I've staged the actors.

"But I'm lucky to have a strong production team supporting me many of my ideas have been pitched to them and they just run with it, whether it's the set, costumes or custom-made props."

Zombie Prom, musical, theatre, comedy, play, 1950s, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, Grease, Happy Days, performing arts, stage
Toffee (Kathryn McCarthy, right) falls for bad body Johnny Warner (Oliver Kaiser) in Zombie Prom. Picture: Sally Newman

Kathryn McCarthy plays Toffee and describes her as a good girl with a loving family who only want the best for her. But when she meets Jonny, everything changes.

"She wants to make her friends happy and do well at school but she also wants to be with him," she said. "It's the rebellion every teenage girl has to face at least once falling in love with someone your parents would never approve of and fighting for it."

Kathryn's involvement in Zombie Prom came about via a more circuitous route than normal. "The director, Ryan, had seen me singing with a busker friend at the Cooby Markets one morning and sent me a message later that day," she said.

"The last time I did any musical theatre was six years ago in Little Shop of Horrors with Shine Studios and had always been looking at getting back into it but the timing was never right.


"Zombie Prom is such a fun script and the cast is amazing so I couldn't have said no. I'm so glad I auditioned and hope to do more work with this crew in the near future."

Despite being a singer, Kathryn feels maintaining her voice for the show will be a challenge. "Although I sing a lot in general, musical theatre really puts you to the test," she said. "And that's probably why I love it."

Zombie Prom, musical, theatre, comedy, play, 1950s, Phoenix Theatre, Dark Psychic Productions, Grease, Happy Days, performing arts, stage
The cast and crew of the atomic comic musical Zombie Prom. Picture: Sally Newman

Zombie Prom plays at 8pm September 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 with a 2pm matinee September 20. Tickets are $25 adults, $20 concessions and children, plus transaction fees book at www.darkpsychicproductions.com or on 0422 394 749.

Raffle and program sales, along with funds raised from other activities, will go to the Perth Zombie Walk (an event that raises money for the Brain Foundation) and Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA.

Phoenix Theatre is located at 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill, within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall.
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Why? If you enjoyed Grease and Happy Days and don't might the odd zombie, then this musical comedy is probably right up your alley!
When: 8pm September 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26; 2pm September 20
Phone: 0422 394 749
Where: Phoenix Theatre, 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill (within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall)
Cost: $25 adults, $20 concessions and children
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