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The Beat Reviews: ‘Evil Dead: The Musical”
As I saw the doorman covered in blood and makeup, looking possessed, it should have been a huge hint as to what I was about to experience. But I would soon learn so much more.
On Sunday, Oct. 4, I arrived at the Alley Theater’s new location to witness “Evil Dead: The Musical.” Now located within The Pointe on Washington Street in Butchertown, the theater was somewhat difficult to find. I followed the blood-covered signs down narrow hallways and around corners to my destination.
A man dressed as a zombie asked me if I’d like to sit in the splatter section. As this was a media preview, I figured I wouldn’t get another chance to choose my seat. So I told him the splatter section would be great. I wasn’t sure what I had agreed to, until they handed me a poncho and goggles and directed me to one of three rows right in front of the stage.
Excerpts of the original “The Evil Dead” movie, as well as trailers for old horror films, were shown via projector on a large screen, as the audience filed in. With my poncho and goggles on, I was ready to be sprayed with the so-called blood. The cast came out singing, each displaying their great voice. The characters were cast perfectly: a blond cheerleader-type (Linda), a ditzy girl in revealing clothes (Shelly), a womanizing jerk (Scott), a leading man/hero/stud (Ash) and a nerdy younger sister of Ash (Cheryl). The five were headed to an abandoned cabin in the woods for a spring break trip. The plot seemed like a typical old-fashioned horror film, with the main difference being a complete, ironic self-awareness, accompanied by vulgar language from start to finish.
My poncho didn’t come in handy for a while. I was almost prepared to take my goggles off my face, when Cheryl (Rebecca Chaney) turned into a zombie. She began the catchy “Look who’s evil now!” song that was repeated throughout much of the show, whenever a character was transformed into a monster. Soon after, I started getting sprayed with blood, as Cheryl forced Ash to cut off his hand.
The cast and crew made sure everyone in the splatter section was soaked. They stepped on the sensors every so often and had different scenes play out on different sections of the stage, so they could ensure that the audience was drenched in fake blood. It was absolutely hysterical. At one point, Cheryl poured a bucket of fake blood onto a surprised man in the front row.
As each of the characters turned into zombies, more and more blood was shed onto us. However, as much as the audience interacted with the characters (screams and laughter could be heard every few minutes), the actors themselves kept focused and gave hilariously exciting performances. I was laughing throughout the entire musical. This was largely due to the fact that the dialogue mocked itself, the film version and old horror films in general.
The show lasted about two hours, with a 15-minute intermission. It was the perfect amount of time, and my attention never flickered away from the show. The actors were well-cast, the stage was set up exceptionally well, considering the remodeling going on around it, and the songs were catchy, upbeat and funny. Before the show started, I slowly felt fear creeping up inside of me, but “Evil Dead: The Musical” quickly changed my fear into laughter. As a huge fan of musicals, I thought this was a fresh, new genre to put into song.
Unlike most of the fans in the audience, I had not seen the original film. I would recommend seeing the movie beforehand to anyone wanting to see the musical.
Not usually a fan of horror films or haunted houses, I left the show in a different mood than I thought I would. I was laughing hysterically, but also dripping with fake blood. It was a twist that many would enjoy.