presented by ImprovBoston
Writer/Lyricist/Director: Don Schuerman
Composer/Music Direction: Steve Gilbane
Choreography by Sejal Patel
Review by Gillian Daniels
(Cambridge) ImprovBoston’s 28 Days Latte begins with a toilet-cleaning scene that will stir unpleasant memories in most people who have seen the dark side of the food service industry. Brandishing a plunger, Brendan Mulhern makes sure to let the audience know what sort of splattering they’re in for. Even before a zombie plague hits the dwellers of the Cambridge coffee shop, GoreFest X lives up to its name with audience-splashing internal fluids.
Watching the improv musical come together is an impressive feat, but ImprovBoston has had a great deal of practice marrying songs to blood-soaked jokes. The 10th Annual Halloween Horrorshow knows just the formula to layer the scatological humor for the broadest laughs. Depicting disemboweled homeless and the awkwardness of end of the world sex, 28 Days Latte revels in its tastelessness and hopes the audience is there for the mindlessly juvenile ride. It does just what it says on the tin.
Beyond “zombie apocalypse,” the show doesn’t have much in the way of plot. This is fine. ImprovBoston veterans like Patrick French, Megan Golermann, Alex LeBaron, Ben Scurria, Kara Gelormini, and Julie Devito are given plenty of breathing room to bounce off one another. Together, they build scenes that reference all facets of nerd horror culture, from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl charm of Zooey Deschanel to the almost comically grim comics of Frank Miller. The show isn’t particularly tight but the jokes
As I watched, fake blood drying on my temple, I didn’t compare it to the zombie-virus episode of the television show, Community, or the hit film, Shaun of the Dead (2004). Zombies have been hot for more than a few years at this point. Instead, I thought of last year’s performance, GoreFest 9: MASSacre General Hospital, similar in packaging to 28 Days Latte but more tragic in tone. With a clinic as its backdrop, it was a looser, gloomier yarn. The stakes are high in both shows, though, even if 28 Days Latte is flippant in tone despite (or because of) the end of the world. If you feel your holiday is lacking in pretend fluids, I suggest grabbing a raincoat and seeing ImprovBoston’s Halloween offering before this year’s GoreFest is complete.