Sunday, February 11, 2007

Evil Dead the Musical
at New World Stages, 50th Street in NYC. seen February 10, Saturday 11pm.

The Evil Dead series of films had become more comedy than horror with Army of Darkness. So the next logical step? An over-the-top musical comedy with gore in front of a live audience. It's the kind of thing we might have heard years prior to it actually happening, but never thinking it would actually come to fruition (Freddy Vs Jason, anyone?). But, like it or not, Evil Dead the musical is now a large (and possibly, in time, integral) part of the Evil Dead cult following. Judging by the audience at the theater and reviews online, everyone appears to like it. And there really isn't much to dislike, unless you are devoted to the frightening, atmospheric early 80s horror of the first film. I'll certainly raise my hand to being a diehard of the more serious Evil Dead, and while I was skeptical and disappointed the stories had gone in a knowingly campy direction, I went to the show with as open a mind as possible and wasn't going to let the audience, which usually annoys me at concerts, get me down. Happily, the crowd never became an issue and everyone seemed to respect the show as well as understand all the references to the Evil Dead movies, the one-liners and the show's spoofing of formulaic horror films. One of the best things about the performance was that the story, more or less taken from Evil Dead 1 and 2, successfully tied together the two movies, something Evil Dead 2 itself wasn't able to do (you can probably look all that up on Wikipedia or something). Aside from that, the set design for such a smallish theater was rather impressive, complete with a cellar door on the floor and a talking moose head in the cabin where most of the action takes place. And let's not forget, this IS a musical, so, there were songs. Those songs were carried well by the actors, even when Ash and Scotty were singing "What the f*ck was that?!" (one of my favorites) after their girlfriends became taken over by demons. With the addition of the dead-on (sorry) jokes and the gore, blood and guts that mostly splattered into the "splatter zone" at the end, Evil Dead the Musical was an unusual, entertaining two hours that raises the question as to what an off-broadway musical can be. Wait for it...wait for it........groovy. -Kenyon

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