Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly? You betcha. Tom and Jerry? Of course. Cowboys and zombies? Hmmm…. well, why the hell not. If you agree with that sentiment then I have a play for you. “Hell Followed With Her” (written by Bill Daniel and directed by Josh Zagoren) makes its world premier debut at The Den Theatre. It has gore, violence, strong silent types that talk all the time, and pretty much everything else you would expect from a Western/Zombie hybrid play.
“Hell Followed With Her” also has the wonderfully brooding Sophia Rosado who is capable of projecting both tremendous sadness with her guitar as well as crazy violence with her six piece. Mostly though she is content to hunt down and bring to justice the murderous bastard who killed her parents. As is possible in the Wild West, this thieving, murdering son-of-a-bitch (the very talented George Zerante) is himself a bounty hunter in search of a gun slinger by the name of Cole (Ardarius Blakely). Meanwhile there is a mysterious illness going around that seems to be passed on by human bite.
While clearly influenced by such classics as “The Hateful Eight” and “Shaun of The Dead,” I see a definite resemblance here to John Millington Synge’s “Playboy of the Western World” which, while zombie-free, does involve cantankerous characters waiting out a storm in a western bar. OK, maybe that is a bit of a reach. But, as noted in the digital program, there are just not that many Western-Zombie plays out there. WildClaw Theatre therefore deserves credit for taking the road less traveled. And, for the most part, this choice pays off well as the production is a tense, suspenseful experience delightfully punctuated by sporadic gun fire. It is truly a good time. At the same time, however, the second act does drag a bit and I am not sure that this play will appeal to those not interested in off-beat Western and/or Zombie productions. Those though looking for a fix in between the next Quentin Tarantino flick and Walking Dead spin-off will not be disappointed.
Bottom Line: Hell Followed With Her is Recommended and is playing at The Den Theatre (1331 North Milwaukee) now through November 9th. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.