By Carmel Shortall
If you’ve ever been in a hurry to get to the Camden Head while trying to fight your way past sluggish crowds of the not-quite-dead outside Camden tube, you’ll already have an inkling that this is where the impending zombie apocalypse will start.
Amateur scientist, Harold Grimhold knows. Somehow, he’s had 10 days advance warning of the zombie uprising and is now hiding out in a filthy comic-strewn room making lists for himself and a video-diary for the “future people” (that’s us, the audience!).
Harold tells us we’re all going to die. Horribly. Zombieism, we learn, is – “a viral inflammation of the brain a lot like rabies – but not rabies.” He counts down the days to zombie mayhem as he records his thoughts and examines various ways of coping with the horror. He sings along with Bonnie Tyler as he tries to find his inner hero and experiments with the coma-inducing properties of cheese. Above all, he tries to phone Graham the philosopher to warn him of the zombie apocalypse but only gets to speak to Graham’s stoner flatmate Dave.
The local radio station is no help – its broadcasts are so inane that the zombie apocalypse might already have started on Radio Sheffield.
Still ticking off the days, sleepless Harold begins to disintegrate, revealing his secrets and insecurities. He finally falls asleep and misses Graham’s call with vital news from the outside world. When he awakes and rushes out, having rejected suicide, he still has no idea if it’s into the arms of flesh-eating zombies or not…
Andrew Goddard makes a suitably shambling Harold Grimhold and displays a fine set of lungs belting out Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For a Hero. He clearly enjoys a sing-song: dancing possibly less so.
The play has potential and there is a lot to commend it but the script could do with streamlining and tightening up, especially at the beginning. Overall though, an enjoyable experience.
10 Days Earlier is written, produced and directed by Lizzie Milton and performed by Andrew Goddard, both of the Sheffield University Comedy Revue who have a number of productions in this year’s Camden Fringe. Look out for Northern Droll (reviewed next) and Friends with Benefit Fraud – both at the Camden Head.