There was a moment late last night as I scrubbed fake blood off my fleece jacket when I wondered if my decision to attend the evening’s performance of Evil Dead: The Musical was worth it. And I decided that yes, indeed, it was well worth it. If I were a punny guy, I would say it was a bloody good time. But I’m not.
I finally made my way to the 2nd Street Theater to see the comedic interpretation of the cult horror film classic for a Wednesday showing that, to my surprise, was packed full. But given that this is the final week of the show (it concludes with a Halloween night performance), which has been running all month, maybe that makes some sense.
In a word, the show is ridiculous. A mop-toting crew appears two different times during the show to soak up the copious amounts of blood that spew from every direction and every character, the songs are campy but full of hilarious and sexually suggestive lyrics, and the acting, especially that of the zombies, may very well go down as the stuff of local theater legend.
Directors Chris Kas and Sandy Klein fit the adaptation, which just popped up on the theatrical scene just five years ago, nicely into the cozy 2nd Street Theater, letting their actors bounce through the cabin-in-the-woods set during the laugh-and-cheer production. Oh, and the cellar door was a great touch, with Jenny Mackenzie thrusting her zombiefied head out from time to time to provide some witty demonic threats. And did I mention that there’s probably 100 F-bombs in the script? This is good. We need more of that edginess in our mostly sanded-down-for-safety Central Oregon culture.
I have to admit, I’m a few years removed from my last viewing of any film in the Evil Dead franchise, but when Todd Hanson, who plays Ash, propped up one of the familiar lines from the films, I, along with most of the audience – some of whom were clearly return customers – shouted the memorable phrase with him.
The show has been well-received throughout town and last week even attracted the attention of Bruce Campbell, (pictured to the right with Hanson) who played Ash in the films. The Medford resident came up for a show a couple weeks ago and gave it a thumbs up, sticking around for a Q and A session and photos with the cast.
So back to the jacket scrubbing… During a strobe-light-shrouded scene in which Ash was blasting and chain sawing zombie demons there was a loud scream and then I felt a cold splash on my face and my hair and my legs. Yes, I, in the third row, tucked away in a side corner of the audience, got splattered with a massive blast of blood.
And it was totally worth it. Yeah, I probably should have told my wife not to wear that wool sweater, but hey, it’s Halloween and dry cleaners are probably used to this sort of thing.