Sunday, March 15, 2009

Evil Dead: The Musical!

Normally, I would post this only on the Cynical Cinema website. But because that website is currently undergoing some kind of switchover that I don't really understand, I am posting it here. The link on this blog to Cynical Cinema works, but not the link on the CHEZ page. The new CC website has been updated, but not everything is there yet. Right now only the reviews up to January 29th of this year are available. It should be back to normal within a week, at which point there will be a huge amount of new content, since I have been saving reviews for a week already. But not knowing whether it will be up and running by the time the next series of shows for Evil Dead: The Musical are happening, I thought I would post this here.

Doc and I had a bit of a bet going. I said that Evil Dead: The Musical would be of more interest to more people than Spamalot. He thought that was ludicrous. The reason I said this was that more people know Monty Python than Evil Dead, certainly. But Monty Python fans are not ALL going to care about Spamalot. In fact, many casual Monty Python fans will not even make the connection between the few movies they know and the musical. However, there are no casual Evil Dead fans. If you know the movies, and love the movies, then you are in all the way. And you will (like me) rent My Name Is Bruce, the new movie starring Bruce Campbell as himself, and you will buy Bubba Ho-Tep, and you will read If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, Campbell's autobiography. (Which, by the way, is absolutely hilarious, and kicks off with a brilliant forward that was supposed to be written by Sam and Ivan Raimi, and that in itself is worth the price of the book.)

At any rate, the bet was going to be paycheques. Doc's paycheque versus mine, on whether Spamalot or Evil Dead would be bigger. In the end I chickened out and didn't take the bet, because if I lost one of my paycheques I would lose my house. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, right? Well, I'm kicking myself now. I took my girlfriend and my sister to the showing of Evil Dead: The Musical at Carleton University's Kailash Mital Theatre on Saturday night. I called a few hours ahead, hoping to reserve tickets for the show. I was informed that for the first three nights of the procuction, there were no more reserve seats to be had. They had all been reserved. So we would have to take our chances at the door.

We figured we had better go early. Like, really early. If all the reserved seats were taken, the tickets available at the door were likely to be snapped up fast. So we got there at 7:00 for the 8:00 show. Judging by the pile of tickets on the table, there were about nine left at that time. And then we were directed to go downstairs, where the line began. And we followed the line of people through the lobby, and then down the stairs, and then around the corner, and then down the length of a very long hall to the outside door, and then back along the wall in the other direction, almost back to where we began. And this is an hour before show time. Everyone who had a ticket for this show had lined up an hour before show time. They all wanted to sit in the first few rows, where there WILL be some splashback. Of course, we ended up at the back of the theatre. It isn't a huge theatre, so that isn't a problem, but I would have liked to be in the splatter zone. And I wish I had taken that bet.

The show itself is just about what I expected. Terrifically campy, silly, and fun. Some of the funniest moments were the ones where the cast called attention to the low-budget nature of the production. The premise is great, the satire of horror movies and Evil Dead in general is funny, and the songs are absolutely terrific. The highlights are "Housewares Employee", with Ash and Linda, "It Won't Let Us Leave", with Cheryl, and "All The Men In My Life Keep Getting Killed By Candarian Demons", with Annie, Ash and Jake. Jake is the funniest character in the musical, perhaps because he reminds my of my buddy Trevor. And Cheryl gets most of the best lines - the cheesy, ludicrous and often terrifically stupid horror-movie puns that make movies like Evil Dead such campy fun.

There are some very funny references as well - for example, when Cheryl sits down to read a book, it's If Chins Could Kill. That made me laugh. The only problem I have with the musical is that it is catered almost entirely to fans of the movie. I guess that should have been obvious to me, but it really stood out that most of the big laugh lines were those taken directly from the movies - "this is my boom-stick", "well hello Mr. Fancy Pants", "gimme some sugar baby", and so forth. Just saying those things doesn't make me laugh. I get it, fine, but at least the guy playing Ash could have infused it with a little bit of Bruce Campbell's sardonic stone-faced humour. Instead, every time he delivered one of those lines, I felt like I was watching one of my not-funny friends who think they're being hilarious when they quote, at length, a funny passage from a movie. I tell those friends it was funny when it happened in that film, but not when it's coming out of their mouth. That's how I felt often.

An unfortunate aspect of Saturday's show was when Ash's microphone started cutting out, and we missed just about all of his final song. The chorus carried on loudly, and the song was still funny, but we didn't get half of it. But it certainly is a good time, it's campy and fun, and you can tell the actors really enjoy doing this show. There are three more dates for Evil Dead: The Musical at the Kailash Mital Theatre, at Carleton University - March 19th, 20th, and 21st. I recommend it to fans of the movies. And only to fans of the movies. But then, I know they are going anyway. Here's how to get there:


  1. I'm curious to know how the musical dealt with the "randy" tree, if it did at all. Seriously messed up flick. I recall watching it in a chemically enhanced state, which only amplified the creepy factor .

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. That was pretty funny - the tree would take them off stage, and then you would hear someone yell "hey! That's my bathing suit area!" and that was about it.

  3. I worked on the crew for the show and let me assure you, you didn't miss anything sitting in the back. Because of the cost of having the seats and carpet cleaned, there couldn't be a splatter zone. The only people who got covered in fake blood were the cast and crew.