Today, I got to go to upstate NY with some friends and partake in some Evil Dead: The Musical which I was wholly excited about . I had an excellent time (there was also a chocolate fest going on in town!!) and the musical was great fun (I can think of several of you guys who would totally dig on this) but unfortunately the entire experience overall left a bit to be desired.
We showed up an hour early because none of us had ever been to this particular theatre. We find it and there’s a guy on the street trying to drum up some business who tells us to go on in so we can buy tickets and then come back later. Head in and absolutely no one is to be found but we see a door (oohhhh, mysterious door!) and hear lots of talking behind and don’t see a sign saying “STAY AWAY OR THE EVIL DEAD WILL CONSUME YOU” so I knock. And the door opens and a face peers out and the door promptly slams in my face. Yeah, there was a definite lack of common theatre courtesy and conduct happening at this show today. Besides the slamming of the door, there was also through out the show various techies and crew coming in and out of side doors (normally crew are in place and wherever they should be at the start of the show). Admittedly, this was black box theatre (black box just means really small room, really small stage, very intimate and it’s usually painted black) so maybe they needed to do a bit of running around? But it was distracting and detracted from what was happening on stage. Luckily, not too long after the door slam a super nice crew member who was obviously incredibly harried and hectic was able to help us and apologized about a million times for being so busy. She rocked and I wish I’d gotten her name. We finally got our tickets and headed out to wander around Nyack.
We headed back to the theatre about 15 minutes to show time and find out there’s been a delay (seems someone forgot part of their costume…). Again, we head out and again we head back in. We’re finally led into the theatre somewhat on time and sit and wait. And wait. And wait. The show actually didn’t end up starting till 30-40 minutes after it was supposed to. I understand that in live theatre shit happens but the last show I did we had a girl throw her back out opening night and one of our main characters fell down stairs and sprained her ankle THEN ended up on closing day coming in with her eye swollen shut due to an allergic reaction of some sort and we still managed to get on stage on time and all…After about 15 minutes, they finally made an announcement about a technical difficulty and sent out a couple of guys to do some live music so that was cool of them.
Finally, finally the show starts and from here we break it down into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…
This may be one of the best musical scores I’ve ever heard (well, if you’re into horror and rock that is). I loved pretty much every song and the guitarist and pianist did an awesome job.
This was a vague collaboration of all three of the Evil Dead movies and since I haven’t seen them in awhile, there were times where I went huh, what? but then Ash cut off his hand and got all chainsawed up and it was “Oh hell yeah.” PURE AWESOME.
One-liners, one-liners galore. “Who’s a stupid bitch now??” “My name is two letters! E-fucking-D!!” “Hey Ash, need a hand??”
Jake (Jacob S. Viens) and Ed (Dean ten Eicken) where pretty darn great in their roles. And Cheryl (Karolin Yahyaoglu) was hysterical as Ash’s sister.
Considering the small stage and what I’m assuming was a small budget, they did well with their resources. Instead of full blown demony makeup they went with some cool Day of the Dead reminiscent masks that worked nicely.
The tree scene. Omg, the tree scene.
Ash (Charles Edward Roberts) was completely monotone and not the greatest singer. In fact, most of the people here weren’t the best singers (although I can’t really judge because my own mother told me as a child that I can’t sing and I figure if your own mother says that, your pretty much shite…). But the monotone thing…I couldn’t tell if it was an acting decision made to offset the craziness from the rest of the cast (you know like pretend Native American in Dust Up?) or if it just had to do with this being Charles’ first live performance. Also we’re pretty sure he was the one who slammed that door in my face…so when it comes to his performance, I was ambivalent and my friend pretty much hated his characterization.
Like I stated above Cheryl, Jake and Ed were pretty awesome. Linda (Allison Samuel) didn’t have much energy going on and looked vaguely uncomfortable most of the time. She had a sweet voice that wasn’t terrible by any means but her whole demeanor was reserved. It was a matinee and matinee’s can sometimes be hard so maybe she was just having an off day.
Shelly/Annie (Andrea, who actually told us after the show that in the original they didn’t have money to cast two actresses for these roles so they double cast one actress) was losing her voice so how her actually singing would be was kind of hard to tell. She was definitely fun in the two roles (which were extremely different) and this was her first time back on stage since ’99 and I know that feeling so I can’t really say anything horrible about her – she was fun and she made do with what she had.
NOT enough blood splatter. They give a warning at the beginning that if you’re sitting in the front two rows, you risk the chance of getting sprayed with blood but there really was hardly any blood at all. It was disappointing.
*The above is NOT the production we saw, it’s just a clip I found on YouTube.*
This show should be campy. It’s to be expected from something entitled Evil Dead: The Musical. But this overall production…again, I don’t know if it was acting choices or director choices or what exactly happened but….let’s put it this way, the cast for the most part could give the cast of Bikini BloodBath Car Wash a run for their money. Campy is one thing. Satire of campy or whatever this was is an entirely different matter.
Again, the level of theatre conduct was just not there. It’s disappointing and maybe this is a weird Southern girl thing but dammit, be polite to people when they’re coming to pay you money for something.
So final verdict? I’m torn between love and hate. The musical itself I adored. This production of it I did not. There were moments I enjoyed but overall the whole experience was like going to a party and expecting there to be kegs and kegs of beer and shenanigans but instead you wind up with wine and cheese and philosophical discussions on the comparative art of avant garde Czechoslovakian directors (actually, I’d be totally okay at either of those….). If you’re in the NY area, don’t waste your money on this production but if you ever have the chance to go see this, I HIGHLY recommend it.