Evil Dead: The Musical is here to stay. No matter what configuration of actors and musicians, this is director Sandy Klein’s sinister baby and she’s going to keep it coming. This new Evil Dead: The Musical, currently hitting 2nd Street Theatre, has been revamped, re-cast, restructured and still resurrects all the fun of the past seasons. The play is based on Sam Raimi’s three Evil Dead flicks, but focused mainly on Evil Dead II.
I was an avid fan of the first locally produced version in 2010, seeing it four times, including the Bruce Campbell night. I saw it once last season and now here I am again. This time around there have been some definite upgrades, but all in all it’s still just good blood-spurting zombie dancing fun perfect for the season.
I saw the show recently on dress rehearsal night. There were a few technical glitches, but the play came off exceptionally well, especially for the first time in front of the live audience. I know from past experience that the blood-spurting will get more “refined” and all cues will eventually be on their mark. But that’s the beauty of Evil Dead—it doesn’t matter. Mistakes are all part of the fun. They allow for ad-libbing from the cast and heckling from the audience. FYI audience participation is encouraged, if not mandatory. It’s interactive and intended to be campy, tongue-in-cheek and messy.
Walking into a noticeably new, more elaborate set design, the audience members choose seats by proximity to the “Splatter Zone,” in which they are guaranteed to get doused in fake blood like a Gwar concert. (Don’t worry we were informed many times it washes out.)
Among the fresh touches added this year are more zombies dancing in certain numbers, a very funny stab at Rocky Horror Picture Show and constant references to this year’s flick Cabin in the Woods, which had its own references to the Evil Dead trilogy. This version is actually raunchier and sexier than previous versions and that’s a good thing. Plus throwing a live band into the mix adds a much more hip vibe to the gory shenanigans.
Despite some missteps and some really bad singing you cannot come out of this without noticing the ton of work that went into it and how much fun the actors are having. Besides, who cares if someone can’t carry a tune when people are up there having so much fun it’s contagious?
These songs written by George Reinblatt are hilarious and cannot fail, even with the mediocre singing. It’s a blast to relive these great songs again, from the opener “Cabin in the Woods” to “What the F*&% Was That?” and, of course, the classic “Do the Necronomican.”
Special note must go out to an impressive stage debut for Tommy Kuchulis as Ash, who stepped into some mighty big chainsaw boom-stick wielding shoes. He looks like Bruce Campbell and bounces around all rubbery like Jim Carrey. In fact, the whole cast seems to bounce off each other’s energy in a frenetic humorous way.
It’s clear that Klein intends to keep the gory ball rolling by making this an annual event. Whether it’s this ensemble or the next batch of college students gone berserk, Evil Dead’s bloody heart is in the right place, amusingly pumping the blood all over. Since Thursday night they have been selling out.
Seriously, how can you go wrong with a musical spoof about people having sex, getting hacked up and turning into zombies with an inordinate amount of guts spewing and blood spraying? Go see this.
Photo taken by 2nd Street Theatre.
Evil Dead: The Musical
8 p.m. Thursdays through
Saturdays Oct. 18 to 27
Plus new show just added at 8 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 24
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21
Presented by Stage Right Productions
and 2nd Street Theater
2nd Street Theatre
220 Northeast Lafayette Ave. Bend, OR 97701 541-312-9626