Evil Dead: The Musical by George Reinblatt

Dates and Venue 20 - 28 October 2009, 8pm | Vogue Theatre


Reviewer Ed Farolan

What a fun and cheesy production! The preview night audience was composed mostly of cult nerds (in the first three rows) ready to be splattered by demon blood. They practically tore the house down with their cheers and screams, and in unison, recited lines like "This is my boomstick!" together with anti-hero Ash (Tyler Rive) as he aimed his chain saw or rifle at a zombie.

Presented by Ground Zero Theatre with Hit & Myth Productions and Keystone, and based on Sam Raimi's cult hit B-movie series (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, Army of Darkness), this spoof musical is about five vacationing college students breaking into a secluded cabin in the woods where they discover The Necronomicon, an ancient flesh-bound book containing blood-inked spells with the power to summon the demons of Candar.

Everything in the show was entertaining, and that's what we need these days to escape from the drudgeries of life. Foremost, the musical direction and choreography were well-executed. The audience's favourite of the show was Ed (Guilly Urra) who sang and danced vaudeville zombie- style. Scotty (KevinCorey), the foul-mouthed zombie, reminded me of Jim Belushi in his comedic style of acting. Linda (Lynley Hall) sang beautifully, and I liked her transformation from the timid human to the aggressive, demon-possessed, some kind of Linda Blair from "The Exorcist". Jake (Bruce Horak) played his country boy role with the Kentucky-like accent to the T. Cailin Stadnyk played the two roles in this show with relish --from dumb, sexy blonde in the first half, to the the brunette intellectual in the second half. She was so convincing in both roles that I thought at first that there were two different actresses.

The set design was quite creative. The first scene opens in cartoon-like fashion, with a cardboard set of the forest in the background. Then we enter the cabin, with its well-designed and detailed interior, replete with everything that a well-furnished cabin-in-the-woods would look like. It even had a cellar, where a stage trap door was used, and whenever it opened, you'd have eerie sounds and hellish lights exuding from it. I was particularly impressed by the lighting design-- the use of spots, strobe and roving lights. The sensesurround audio was also outstanding. Special effects made the production even more interesting : fog on the stage; trees running after Linda and raping her; a moose's head (Daniel Mallet) hanging on the wall and talking; puppet monsters moving about on their own; a chopped hand having a life of its own-- all part of this entertainingly hilarious spoof musical.

The actors enjoyed the show as much as the audience. Some even came dressed for the occasion, in Halloween costumes, especially in zombie outfits. The second half of the show was the fun part: blood gets splattered on the patrons in the first three rows of the theatre called the "splatter zone" where diehearts were using ponchos, but the more defiant ones had purposely come to the show in white to get the blood splattered all over them. But even if you're in the eighth row as I was, I still got a few splattering drops of demon blood on my face.

All in all, it was gore galore-- satirical, campy, an offspring of the Rocky Horror shows of the past generation.This is a show that's slick, silly, and lots of fun. It's a show that seldom comes around and shouldn't be missed.

© 2009 Ed Farolan