REVIEW: Leftovers @ Ottawa Fringe 2012

It’s the end of days and three survivors comtemplate life in the CostMart. Should you see it?

Not much else to say about this play. I feel like it is the leftovers from every zombie stereotype and cliché out there. The zombie apocalypse is upon us. Three survivors camp out inside of a Costmart Super store. Tom, the zombie, camps out outside the Costmart super store as he still has enough intelligence left to know his girlfriend is inside and he wants to say goodbye before he becomes the brain-eating unintelligible zombies that have been attacking everyone.

This play calls itself a dark comedy – but is not funny. Its grating. The characters inside the Costmart are all losers. We have a stoner, a depressed girl, and Brody… a … I don’t even know how to explain him… he’s special all right. Whether he’s just  an idiot or spiritually enlightened – there ain’t much left over in his brain for intelligent conversation. The best and most likeable character is Tom the Zombie who tries to build a radio to communicate with Alex, his suicidal girlfriend. But then again, this is where we see the majority of the zombie clichés and stereotypes play out.

Zombies seem to be an obsession that we are constantly being bombarded with – and out of it has come a lot of great zombie cinema, television and other forms of entertainment – so if you’re going to tackle zombies, either be extremely good or – be campy and fun. Leftovers is neither and left me with that heart burn and nauseous feeling that leftovers sometimes leave me with. This gets a flaccid 2.

Allan’s (slightly late) Followup:

I’m a fan of the Zombie genre. Survival horror, zom-com, whatever. I don’t think it’s all good but throw it at me and I’ll eagerly take a look. Leftovers is a kind-of Dawn of the Dead meets Clerks. Three slacker-types hide out in a Costmart after a zombie apocalypse. Where Leftovers tries to be different is through the Zombie character, Tom – also: nice make-up job – who seems to have held onto his intelligence so far and is only slowly going “zombie.” Is it enough to keep it interesting? At first. The big problem is that there isn’t much meat on the story, or any of the characters. And most of the events of the story seem precipitated by an acid trip.

One thing this script suffers from is a lot of monologuing that’s often boring and pointless and takes away from anything actually happening. The other suffering point is the lack of any real story or character. For example, the Tom the Zombie, who chats informally with the audience through his monologues, wants to build a radio to contact his girlfriend inside the store before he goes all feral, but the girlfriend never mentions him - or any boyfriend at all. She barely has a personality and figures on the “opt out” plan. So there’s no real dramatic conflict at all.

The other two characters are slightly more interesting. My favourite scene(s) had Nat, the other female survivor, creating a “benign dictatorship” and basically enslaving the other two survivors. The male survivor started a movement to ally with “misunderstood” zombies, - which was less interesting but there was at least something there to be interested in. Of course what destroys this is that they only have personality and goals when they’re on peyote and we get a “that was weird” when they come down from their trip to close the show.

I’m not going to play “here’s what they should have done” in my review, but I saw a lot of areas where Leftovers could have been something and  I really wanted it to be there. But it wasn’t. Aside from one or two good scenes, nice zombie make-up and a couple chuckles, Leftovers was left wanting. Two.

- by Allan Mackey

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Matthew Champ

About Matthew Champ

Matthew Champ is the lead movie reviewer for Production Ottawa's Should You See It team, making sure that you know whether or not these movies or plays are worth spending your time or money on.

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