Photo by Jessica Peralta

New Chemistry Brings New Life to the ‘Living Dead’

Fans who have followed the Maverick Theater’s Night of the Living Dead stage adaption for 11 Octobers have known two things for awhile: Each cast change brings something new to the show and, of course, the zombies just keep coming.

Alexander Harris is the notable new guy this year. As Ben, he leads the cast with a bigger physical presence but a soothing demeanor that turns the main character from a man on a low boil to a man who’s essentially a big teddy bear. Harris, a former police officer, seems a natural.

The interplay between Harris and Briana Donze’s Barbara is changed because of it. Donze is now more delicately balanced between victim and fighter, with a bit more nuance in certain scenes than before.

But the real underlying element Harris brings to the 11th running of the production is the sense that perhaps, everything is going to be all right. Even if we know it’s not. That propels the story along and gives the ending a new punch.

The second rule of NOTLD is just as important, because for those who are waiting for the creeping hordes, one never has to wait long. This wonderful production still delivers because it smartly took great source material 11 years ago, has been graced with a willing and enthusiastic cast and, of course, has always kept the zombies coming.