Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:31 pm
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Guest reviewer Kris Linkugel took in a show at Louisville Kentucky's Alley Theatre and brings back this report.Musicals are lame, right? Really? Are you sure? No, you’re absolutely right, they ARE lame. But that’s one of the many reasons The Alley Theatre of Louisville’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical works so well. It embraces all that is ridiculous and loved about the Evil Dead Trilogy and makes dirty love to it amidst a live band and equally ridiculous dance numbers that poke fun at the cliche American Musical. Let’s just say that there’s so much cheese crammed into this spectacle that you won’t $%^& for a week! But after all, we’re talking Bruce Campbell, here.
Let’s see…you get pretty much every one-liner from Army of Darkness, numerous over-dramatic (but not inaccurate) “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”s and “You…BASTARDS!” from Ash. You also get fat hillbilly characters doing ballet moves, and the horror movie staples: constant sex and substance abuse references and a slutty dumb girl thrown in for kicks. I know what you’re thinking, but stop. Left in the hands of fools (i.e. the Wayans Brothers for every SINGLE movie in the “Scary Movie” franchise), this material could sky-rocket to painfully awful in less than two seconds. But that’s not the case here. The material is handled surprisingly well except for just a few moments, (beware the puns in the cellar), and it is clear that Evil Dead: The Musical is both a love letter to the Evil Dead trilogy, and a nice little kick in the balls to American Musicals.
If you’re not familiar with the Evil Dead Trilogy; sorry ‘bout it. This is not the time, nor the place to go into plot background and history. The story, however, can be summed up fairly easily. As explained by our chainsaw-wielding hero, the bloody-stumped Ash, when some new arrivals come into the cabin to find (among other things) a woman’s severed head and blood soaked floors:
“It's an old tale. You've probably heard it a hundred times. Boy and his friends go on a weeklong vacation in the woods. Three friends turn into Candarian demons. One friend is killed by a forest of evil trees. Two demons are killed by their boyfriends respectively, while one stays in the cellar trying to kill everything in sight. Like I said, ‘pretty standard stuff.’ ”
What’s also “standard” for this production, is 7 gallons of blood being spewed on the audience courtesy of the SplatterZone, a Candarian dagger made of real bones, masks created with the help of Robert Kurtzman (of KNB Effects fame), a dancing moose, beach balls and toilet paper from S-Mart, as well as moving (and sometimes “inappropriate”) vines. So this is not some shoddy, underground, small town production as I thought it was going to be, but actually an already well-received and talked-about stage play that has been slumbering in the dark woods of Cincinnati’s back yard.
But unfortunately, the evil forces have nearly been defeated. The Candarian demons have been made into flesh and the rift in time has opened to S*** them out of our reality. Basically: Show’s over. Sold out. Done. But no worries loyal S-Mart shoppers, although the production has been sold out for it’s last performances this Halloween weekend, word from Producer, Jake Wheat, is that the show will become an annual mainstay at the theater and will shortly be undergoing some revisions for next year. So when you DO find yourself in Louisville next Halloween season, make sure to get SplatterZone tickets EARLY and thank Jake, as well as his Co-Producer and Director Joey Arena for creating this production so close to home, and adding Louisville, KY to the small list of areas offering quality performances.
So until then, make sure to dig out your old copies of Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness to freshen up on your references. Fans of the series will not be disappointed, and loathers of musicals won’t mind when musical numbers erupt. I mean, come on…when slutty female demons sing, “I’ll swallow your soul and not even gag a little”, and with songs entitled, “What The *#$% Was That?!”, how can you NOT enjoy a little musical number here and there? Especially when you’re covered in blood…
For more information about Evil Dead: The Musical