The zany minds at Tribe of Fools deliver another wildly entertaining and oddly meaningful original show for this year’s Fringe audiences. ZOMBIES . . . WITH GUNS is set in post-apocalyptic Philadelphia–in an evocative set design of urban detritus and destruction by Paul Kuhn–where “conflict and violence are the status quo” and a few surviving members of the human race must save themselves from being bitten and joining the ranks of the living dead. Will they choose pop music to soothe the invading zombies, as advocated by the peace-loving Ben (Arlen Hancock), or arm themselves with weapons and do battle (with intricate fight direction by Michael Cosenza), as commanded by the aggressive and volatile Lane (Terry Brennan)? Will Bree (Lauren Harries) be saved or succumb to the pandemonium?
As it turns out, zombies (in scary make-up by Katie Wennell Haberek and costumes by Becca Austin) love to dance, to re-enact the life-altering incidents of their transition to zombiehood, and to teach rookie members how to walk the walk and talk the talk (zombie antics provided by the hilarious Tara Demmy, Zachary Chiero, and Kyle Yackoski, along with a different “Philebrity guest-star Zombie” at each performance; we were lucky to get the fabulous Johnny Showcase as ours). As Ben says of the inhumane gun-toting Lane, “I don’t what’s worse—him or the zombies?” We do, thanks to the socio-political conscience of writers Brennan, Nick Mazzuca, and Peter Smith (who also directs), and their smart Tribe of Fools. [Church of the Crucifixion, 620 S. 8th Street] September 4-12, 2015; fringearts.com/zombies-with-guns.