AntiMatter Collective presents Death Valley, through July 10

Though a very niche genre, the blending of Horror themes into Western stories has a grand tradition in U.S. culture. Both genres are distinctly U.S. centric and compliment one another quite well.

To say the least, Death Valley is an exercise in gory, action packed fantasy excitement put on by a young scrappy cast full of passion. Though the level of production ran the gamut from very on point lighting, sound, and stage cues, I was a bit disappointed by the costumes and overdone make-up.

Two characters dominated the story; the morally ambiguous drifter Lawrence, well played by Will Cespedes, and Adele the hooker with a heart of gold, a sharp blade, and sharper courage played by Alexandra Panzer who basically stole the show.

The story follows this pair as a zombie apocalypse begins to overtake the slice of the stereotypical old West the characters find themselves in. The actual location of the play is never made clear and the range of ‘Western accents’ used by the players does muddle things a bit, but in broad strokes it works.

Following the survivors as they seek safety and escape, there are some truly memorable scenes; Casey Robinson as Kaytennae, the show’s Native character, has an amazing bit where he very physically tells the creation story of his nation, while the show stopper was a scene with Adele and the soiled dove Genevieve, played well by Jessie Hopkins, where the two survivors speak of the horrors their lives had already seen before the advent of the zombie plague.

Though a bit random, not very specific, and quite open ended, Death Valley is a fun show to see and the gusto with which the AntiMatter Collective tackles the subject matter is infectious. T’was a very enjoyable evening outing.

Death Valley: A Zombie Western presented by AntiMatter Collective is at The Bushwick Starr (207 Starr Street between Irving and Wyckoff Avenues, Brooklyn) running June 23-July 10. For more info, visit: http://www.thebushwickstarr.org/AlsoPlaying.html

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About Kenneth Joachim

Living in Brooklyn, NY for the last nine years, Kenneth Joachim has been reviewing for Short & Sweet NYC since it's inception. He enjoys van art fantasy.
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