Sunday, June 01, 2008

What the F!*K Was That?

Back in April, Team Awesome attended our inaugural showing of Evil Dead: The Musical. As expected, we had a great time. In fact, we had such a great time that we went again, a month later! We invited a group of our friends, and after the show the general consensus was “Hells Yes! It was Awesome! (We’re Awesome).”

The production does a great job of capturing the ‘camp’ feel of the classic horror movies. Lots of gore, ridiculous situations, and witty dialogue interposed by hilarious musical numbers delighted the entire audience.

At the same time, the script reveals a lot of reflexivity with regard to the genre and the movies on which it is based: upon hearing a strange voice urging her “Join Us!” coming from [offstage], one character asks “What was it my mom always told me to do if I hear a strange voice coming from outside a cabin? [pause] Oh yeah! Don’t wake the others and tell them, and go out alone to investigate!” Another character acknowledges that he is just a “bit-part demon”, and laments his fate: doomed to be killed by the hero.

The story itself is true to the Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 movies. In fact, since Evil Dead 2 retcons the story from the first movie by limiting the weekend getaway to Ash and Linda, it is more of a combination of the two. The first act covers the events of “The Evil Dead”, where Ash and his friends go to a cabin in the woods (also the title of the opening number), with disastrous results following their discovery of an ancient book bound by flesh.

The second act retells the events of Evil Dead 2, where the daughter of the cabin’s owner arrives with her friends to discover a mutilated (one-handed) Ash in the midst of chainsaw-ing his demon-possessed girlfriend: “This isn’t what it looks like!”

A great aspect of the script is the way that the famous one-liners from Army of Darkness are interpolated throughout the play. The audience, especially yours truly, delighted in hearing classics such as:

“Wait! It’s a trick: use the axe;”
And, “Good, Bad: I’m the guy with the gun;”
And, of course, “THIS is my BOOMSTICK!”

Those members of the audience who recognized the lines would join-in, delivering with a roar the famous quotes that made Bruce Campbell into a B-Movie icon. Given the ‘intimacy’ of the venue- the audience sits right up at the edge of the stage- I expect that the producers intended for this level of involvement.

Of course, the ‘intimacy’ of the theatre brings me to the last point: the splatter. I can’t describe the experience without bringing up the enormous amount of blood sprayed from the stage onto the audience. Before the second act commences, one of the theatre staff travels throughout the first couple of rows and distributes rain ponchos, explaining that things will get a little “wet” if you are sitting up-close. Important note: you can bring your drinks with you into the theatre, as the show is great to watch over a pint of beer (or two).

Naturally, Team Awesome did not fear getting covered by a little “blood.” The final fight scene, which follows the Time Warp-esque “Do the Necronomicon”, had so much splatter that Team Awesome was more than a little soaked:

All in all: fantastic time. I recommend being familiar with the movies, as you will better appreciate the one-liners and some of the humour. Most importantly: sit close, get soaked, and have a great time! Great show.

Note: the title of this entry refers to one of the musical numbers.

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