One of the things that struck me when I was living in Toronto is how fluidly theatre artists and theatre audiences move from city to city. It was nothing for people to go to Ottawa or Montreal for a weekend to see a play and, thus theatre communities were intrinsically linked to one another and a sort of circuit was formed that worked beyond the Fringe bringing new work from city to city. Since I was born and raised in Halifax, it’s weird and embarrassing that I have only been to Cape Breton three times in my life and that I have zero concept of what the theatre and its community there is like. Sydney, after all, is only a five hour drive away. So, I was thrilled to see that members of the Cape Breton Stage Company were bringing ZomRomCom to the Atlantic Fringe Festival this year.

This play by Scott Sharplin centers on Jesse, who is an ardent zombie enthusiast and his girlfriend, Sam, who is less enthusiastic but still along for the ride. For their five year anniversary they dress up and attend a showing of Dawn of the Dead with Jesse’s fun snack “braincorn.” Soon, they find life mirroring art and threatening their brains.

There is a lot that is fun in Sharplin’s play. The lines that capture Jesse’s nerdiness and his obsession with zombies and the popular culture phenomenon surrounding them are the funniest. Erin Thompson has some fantastic physicality as Zombie Sam. The arc of the story surrounding the Zombie Apocalypse is the strongest element of the play. I would love to see Sharplin spend more time fleshing out Sam and Jesse’s relationship. Five year long relationships have depth and complexity; what beyond fighting and zombies make this couple unique?

I hope to see far more theatre from Cape Breton in Halifax in the future, and I’d love to have the opportunity to go up there some time to check things out as well. Building bridges between the various theatre communities in Nova Scotia is an overdue, exciting and necessary endeavor that will benefit everyone who cares about the theatre in this province.

TWISI Rating: 

3 of 5 stars

ZomRomCom has closed. 

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