(arts) web evil dead the musical

What if your sibling, best friend and girlfriend became possessed by a demon? Would you join them or fight them to the death using any weapons you could find in a cabin in the woods? This is the question Ash, the main character and hero of “Evil Dead The Musical,” asks himself.

“Evil Dead: The Musical” is based on the cult film franchise “The Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2” and “Army of Darkness.” The musical has been performed since 2003 and has since been compared to a new “Rocky Horror Show,” with its song “Do the Necronomicon” performed by all the demons on stage.

“Evil Dead: The Musical” takes from each of the three films, incorporating singing and dancing to comment on the funny happenings in a typical horror story. The musical features a ‘splatter zone’ for the first few rows in the theater that may get splattered during the death scenes. Those nervous about getting dirty shouldn’t worry as the splatter is nothing more than water.

The musical and film follows Ash (or Ashley), his sister, his girlfriend, his best friend and his best friend’s girlfriend, who visit a remote cabin and find a book of the dead. They also find a tape recorder reciting incantations from the book that summon demons and spirits, which haunt the group for the rest of the night.

Fans of the 1981 film will enjoy seeing it adapted for the theater with new laughs from songs “It Won’t Let Us Leave,” “Join Us” and “We Will Never Die.” The film franchise is loved for its campy take on horror, which is less scary and more humorous. The musical adaptation excels in this aspect, taking low-budget filmmaking to another level with a simple cabin set on a stage.

Another part of the film that makes it a classic is, despite its silly take on demonic possession, it is exceptionally well-made. Director Sam Raimi’s shaky-cam technique inspired “The Evil Dead” editor and filmmaker Joel Coen for his first film, “Blood Simple.” The musical makes up for this by employing song, dance and audience participation.

Bruce Campbell, who plays Ash in all three films, has gained a loyal following for his portrayal of a guy unwilling to let evil prevail. Actor Jonathan Pennington is no Bruce Campbell, but the audience cheered him on through his performance and his battle with the undead.

Jovi Lee Gonzales, who played Kate Monster in the Cameo Theater’s “Avenue Q” production, played Cheryl, Ash’s sister. Gonzales stands out with a great performance even though most of it is in a hole in the stage.

“Evil Dead: The Musical” is a show full of fun and camp. Fans of the film who are skeptical of a theater adaptation will be delighted to find that the musical is nostalgic and entertaining. Those unfamiliar with the film trilogy will enjoy the absurd and silly jokes.

The Cameo Theater will show “Evil Dead: The Musical” through Nov. 3. Double features with “The Rocky Horror Show” are also available. Tickets can be purchased at cameocenter.com. For more information, visit cameocenter.com

Photo Credit: Courtesy of James Teninty

Tags: Evil Dead, Evil Dead: The Musical, Theater, Horror, Cameo Theater

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