The first show that I ever went to at Zombie Joe's Underground was "Blood Alley" back in March 2016 and I was left feeling speechless and amazed. Since then, I have attended every horror show that Zombie Joe's has offered and each time I walk away learning something more while having a deeper appreciation for performance art. When I found out that ZJU was going to be putting on a Christmas special of "Blood Alley", I couldn't get my hands on tickets fast enough. Not only was I incredibly intrigued with how they were going to put together such a shocking show set to the tune of one of the happiest holidays, but I also wanted to feel the emotions I felt upon seeing Blood Alley that first time. I knew going in that nothing could beat my experience the first time I went to the show, but I can confirm upon leaving that it was just as good as I expected it to be.
“Blood Alley Christmas” centers around the longing, beauty, and unspeakable events of it’s Christmas-past. It’s a show that’s not for the faint of heart as there are some subject matter that may make you feel uncomfortable. This show is one of the rawest, most unapologetic shows I’ve seen at ZJU and it’s one of the reasons I appreciate it so much. While the majority of the population is looking at this cheerful holiday as one that they get to spend with their loved ones, there’s still an essence of foreboding and cruelty that sneaks itself into the crevices of those all around. During the performances we bear witness to the extremes that one will go when placed under a mistle-toe, the depravity of Santa and his elves, the obsession with material items and being the one that acquires the perfect gifts, the dark secrets we try to keep hidden from those that we love, unspeakable acts of perversion and more. Everything is in your face, from the screams of pain and anguish to the absolute nudity. Nothing is hidden, nothing is safe and nothing will ever be the same.
What makes this work so effectively is not only the directing done by Zombie Joe but also the tremendously talented cast. This time around there was some new faces that I had not seen which was a bit refreshing (not that mind seeing the familiar faces from the other productions, it’s just nice to change things up once in awhile). Every single actor that came out on the small stage brought their A-game and never missed a beat. I’m always amazed with these performances because I could never imagine doing what they do, to be that vulnerable on stage is something I admire and have a great respect for. As with all Zombie Joe’s shows, the darkness was a key player in this performance as the actors would set up each scene before the lights would turn on. It’s something that I’ve always been amazed by because I can barely walk into the other room without a light on to guide me.
If you are looking to get a taste of the macabre before Christmas, then you need to go to “Blood Alley Christmas”. As I’ve said of all the shows I’ve seen at ZJU, they should not be missed as each one brings a new speciality to the table. For those of us who are bombarded with all the Christmas cheer and want something a bit darker, something that reminds us that there is more underneath the fake smiles and well-wishing that’s handed out during Christmas, than you are in for a real treat. An added bonus to “Blood Alley Christmas” is that there is live music which usually is not accompanied with any of the “Urban Death” shows and one of the aspects that I love so much about “Blood Alley”. Also, you will get to hear some of your favorite Christmas songs sung in ways that you never imagined, especially that of the classic holiday song, “The Drummer Boy.”
All in all, take a break from all the shopping and scheduling with family and give yourself the treat of “Blood Alley Christmas”. Sit back, relax, and let the show unfold in front of you with all the awe and wonderment that comes from a Zombie Joe performance. However, you must act fast as this show has a limited run of three weekends - December 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17. So make sure you get your tickets fast before they sell out, and have a very merry yuletide experience.