It’s a ride Rod Serling would definitely dig. With its surreal characters and comic stylings, “(Re)Zoned: Tales from the Magical Twilight” invites us to reimagine the fifth dimension, offering us a twist on the original sci-fi television series, “The Twilight Zone,” chock full of comedy, horror, and some serious magic.
Magician, scientist, and showman, Henry J. Fate (Justin Purcell), hosts the show. Fate performs for us from his parents’ basement, which quickly becomes the “NETHERSPHERE,” a world where anything can happen. Fate’s magic tricks, as well as music from the band, The Cell Phones, bookend comedic vignettes that call back episodes from the spooky television series. The show begins with a take on the original series’ first episode, with a decidedly more comic and surreal climax.
Fate’s magic skills are pretty amazing, offering plenty of audience participation as well as Fate’s own brand of showmanship. His sleight of hand illusions are mesmerizing and punctuated by silliness. Fate is awkward, funny, and possesses a certain charisma that’s hard to resist.
The ensemble works well together and finds the funny most of the time. Each of the nine episodes hatches instantly collectible characters. In the episode “To Serve Man,” the cultural references and ridiculous final twist create some particularly funny moments.
Unfortunately, the show’s final twist is difficult to follow. The production attempts to draw the magician into a disjointed and confusing sketch. Thankfully, we are left with a final magic trick that dazzles and showcases some of the events of our evening together. In performing his final illusion, Henry J. Fate saves the show and ties the night together quite nicely.
By Jen Janke