This weekend I took in Boobs of the Dead, a new zombie-themed burlesque performance running now thru October 31 at the Gorilla Tango theater in Chicago. It re-imagines Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead in a world where a virus is ravaging the countryside transforming unsuspecting Americans into undead burlesque dancers. Well-choreographed and cleverly plotted, the story will be familiar to fans of the graphic novel and AMC series, but just as enjoyable to somebody coming to it cold.
I hadn’t been to a burlesque show in a while, and I wondered if it would be possible for Gorilla Tango to bring the sense of fun and play prevalent in so many burlesque performances to material about shambling, rotting, brain-hungry zombies. I was utterly delighted to find that not only was this possible, but expertly realized in Boobs of the Dead.
I was genuinely impressed with how the writers of the show found ways to take memorable scenes from the show and transform them into burlesque dances. Who would imagine Rick’s awakening in his hospital bed, removing his IV tubes, and putting on his sheriff’s uniform as an occasion for a sexy striptease? Well, the creators of this show did, and thank goodness they did, because it’s sexy and fun and works really well.
Other memorable scenes include the narrator’s demonstration of how the burlesque virus gradually changes its victims (systematically replacing their boring, regular clothing them with feather boas, garter belts, and thigh highs), and the attempts of the protagonists to disguise themselves as members of a burlesque horde. I also laughed hard that they gave Grimes a “sexy horse.” Hilarious.
Funny, titilating, and deviously clever, Boobs of the Dead will be a delight for zombie fans and burlesque fans alike. The carnival (in the classical sense) atmosphere and tongue in cheek humor are a terrific accomplishment, especially when brought to such grizzly subject matter. Highly Recommended.
UPDATE– The show has been extended to include 9pm performances on November 2nd, 16th, and 23rd.