It took me a few days to sit down and write my review of ‘Evil Dead: The Musical”, mostly because I was pretty impressed. Does this mean I have to hate something to come up with content? In general, I’ll say yes.
Anyway! Do you like cleverly designed sets made to fit a small, black-box theatre environment? Logical adaptaion of film-to-stage content, highlighted by well-timed campy humour? Chainsaws and buckets of corn syrup, coloured a garish garnet splattered and hither and thither? Then, buddy, is Evil Dead ever for you. Since you can order beer, we did. We sat next to what I can only describe as the canadian version of a NASCAR dad and his mousey wife. At first, he loudly declared his suspicions of our taking their seats. Eventually, he conceded that as long as there was a ‘place for his beer’, he’d be okay.
So four teenagers who just want a place to express their love freely, and one tagalong sister break into a cabin in the woods. This leads nicely into the first song aptly titled, ‘Cabin in the Woods’, which peppily propels them along in their journey. The best part of this intro is the ‘footbridge’, a moving set piece about the size of a large dog, painted in a rudimentary art project style. Why tiny things are so laughable is a mystery.
From here it is only a matter of time before evil, flesh-bound books are rummaged out of the basement, and girls not pretty enough to have a toy for this stolen weekend are raped by demon trees and thusly, the first to proclaim, “Look Who’s Evil Now’. This transforms poor little Cheryl into a punning Candarian demon who emerges from a trap door every once in awhile to extend a customary ‘join us’ invitation. The makeup here is reliant on a set of rubber masks (I assume) that are easily removed and hidden from sight for quick transformation.
I was amused by their careful attention to lack of continuity in scene transitions. The reprise after intermission included none of the previous scenery, and though I’d heard an ‘Easy, Tiger’ sent my way, I could swear they were all lying in different places.
Honestly, this show actually surprised me into laughter with era-spanning catchy songs that captured the essence of the movies. Not that you have to see the movies to appreciate this show: making it the most successful adaptation from one form to another I’ve ever seen. What giddiness I felt whe Ash strapped that chainsaw to his stump!
Evil Dead: The Musical is playing at the Diesel Playouse (a theatre billing an upcoming show called ‘Kick Cancer in the Balls!’), and I’m pretty sure you should see it.