Written by Daniella Litvak
Adapting a single film into a stage show is a challenge. Adapting a film series into an under two-hour, musical theater extravaganza is a Herculean labor. If you’re going to undertake such an audacious feat then you are going to need some audacious source material. What better fits the bill than Sam Raimi’s cult classic Evil Dead trilogy? Now I’ll be honest, most of my knowledge of the films comes more from pop culture osmosis rather than memories of watching them. From what I do know and what people around me in the audience told me is that Evil Dead The Musical is fairly faithful to films —more importantly it captures the elements everyone loves about the movies.
So come along on a journey with Ash (Jeff Campbell) as he takes his girlfriend Linda (Kari Kennedy), his sister Cheryl (Tiffany McQuay), best friend Scotty (Steven Alcantar), and Shelly (Mallory Kerwin) —a girl Scotty just picked up — to an old, abandoned cabin in the woods for their spring break vacation. Just as they are settling in and starting to have fun, they discover the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis —the Book Of The Dead — and accidentally unleash a plague of evil. Now instead of baking desserts and getting laid, Ash and the gang are up against Candarian demons, possessed trees, and bad puns. Will they make it through the night or be dead by dawn?
One thing is certain, blood will be spilled. Uniquely, Evil Dead The Musical, comes with a splatter zone. At the Maverick Theater the splatter zone is the first row, and if you are sitting there you should not be disappointed with the amount of stage blood on your clothes. I was seated in the row behind the splatter zone and caught only a tiny bit of the spray, so unless you are sitting in the splatter zone you should be leaving the theater unscathed —give or take a few droplets.
Now it is no secret the character of Ash as played by Bruce Campbell in the films and the television series Ash vs Evil Dead is a beloved, pop culture icon. You will probably be thinking about Bruce Campbell while watching Evil Dead The Musical —especially since Jeff Campbell’s resemblance to Bruce Campbell is uncanny. He really nails the part of a guy who goes from a nice —if hapless —college student/slash S-Mart employee to a chainsaw toting, meme spouting badass.
Praise also needs to be given to the rest of the cast because they are equally good in their roles. Kari Kennedy infuses a lot of heart and sweetness into Linda, which really raises the emotional stakes of the show. Mallory Kerwin and Tiffany McQuay get to show off their range since Kerwin plays two characters and McQuay’s role requires acting out diametrically opposing character traits. Meanwhile Steven Alcantar, Ryan Young, Ricky Augustin, and Michael Aguirre are supplying the audience with tons of laughs, which was highlighted during the musical numbers “Bit Part Demon,” “Good Old Reliable Jake,” and“What the F*** Was That?”
Evil Dead The Musical is a fantastically fun theater going experience. I recommend taking a trip down to the Maverick Theater and paying honor to the Necronomicon. It’ll be groovy.
June 30th – August 19th 2017
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