Well it’s kind of what it says in the title. It’s Evil Dead as a musical. Duh!
Okay okay okay, you want a bit more. Well let’s start with ‘The Evil Dead’ for it is a very good place to start. For those who don’t know Evil Dead is a film series from the mind and camera of Sam Raimi and starring Bruce (best chin in the business) Campbell. The first is a very dark comedy/ horror movie while the sequel was more of an even mixture between horror and comedy while the final one kind of ditched the horror altogether and for some reason decided to fly itself to the court of King Arthur but what the heck, they had kind of earned it by that point.
Now the story has carried on in games, comics and t.v shows since then, but this one decides to go back to the beginning and figured that things would be a lot easier to follow if everyone just sang whatever they were thinking and feeling at that moment in time.
Now for those of you that don’t know Evil Dead two was a weird sequel/ remake that retold the first movie in about ten minutes or so and then carried on all the while ditching most of the cast and realising that everybody just wanted more Bruce really. For this musical they have opted to combine the first two films making this a kind of weird Evil Dead 1.5, that combined with the singing and the fact that they have turned the humour up to the point where you might mistake this for the animated adaptation might put a few people off.
For those who haven’t seen Evil Dead before the story goes as follows. Five teens are going up to stay at the cabin in the woods. We know this because they tell us, through song. They are Ash; a hard working S-mart employee, his lonely, yet brainy sister Cheryl, his equally S-mart devoted girlfriend Linda, his best friend Scott whose a douche and some random bimbo called Shelly, Scott picked up drunk three days ago. We know this because again they tell us quite plainly in the first few minutes. Exposition might not be the musicals strong suite, though they do have to get through two cult classics in under an hour and a half so let’s cut them some slack.
They cut across a foot bridge, which is the only way, to the cabin where they intend to break in and set up for the night. Within a few minutes though they are bored and digging down into the trap door built into the stage for stuff to do. In the basement they manage to come across a ceremonial dagger, an axe and a tape recorder with something inside. Oh yes and a book. But Cheryl hasn’t finished reading ‘If chins could kill’ yet and I’m not sure the rest can read so don’t worry about that.
That night however Cheryl hears something or someone calling out to her in the woods and like any good horror movie heroine decides to go and investigate by herself.
She doesn’t get far as soon the trees sweep in to attack, for those wondering this means some guys in bad tree costumes shuffle around her. This forces her back to the cabin where she turns evil and is rightfully thrown into the cellar. But that isn’t enough to stop the spread of the deadite plague as soon it claims Shelly too. Linda is taken out of action but a pencil to the foot and Scott gets his stomach ripped open. Leaving Ash to go slightly maaaaaaaaaaaaad.
At this point our next group begin making their way to the cabin, Annie the daughter of the professor who first translated the book, Ed her oft interrupted and overlooked boyfriend and ‘good old reliable Jake’; a hill billy they found to show them the way. They have the last few pages of the Necronomicon that might put and end to this whole thing but will they be in time. Will Ed ever get to say more than five words without being interrupted? Will Annie be able to cope with the fact that ‘all the men in her life keep getting killed by Candarian Demons’? And will we get any of the really good lines even though they were all from Evil Dead 3? To find out the answer to these and more you’re going to have to track down a showing yourself. Though there may be some knocking around online, I couldn’t support anything like that.
As for whether it’s any good. It’s cheap, overly campy, wearing more lampshades than a drunk guy staggering through your house and it doesn’t stare Bruce Campbell. Yet I would have to say yes. The guy does a better Bruce than they managed out of the frenchman in Spamalot despite the fact that everyone can do “an outrageous French accent‘ and not everyone can do Bruce, well nobody can do Bruce like Bruce. Cheryl manages a decent demon with blood pouring from her eyes and is an easy contender for someone to steal the show out from under Ash’s brown leather shoes. Though who knew that becoming a zombie gave you the power of puns and the ability to win any game of ‘Taboo’.
Now the musical keeps it light, meaning you might struggle to follow some of the leaps in logic if you haven’t seen the movies. For instance here Ash looses his hand to the evil power of song rather than any bite which might not make much sense if you didn’t know we had to simply get to that because it’s the lead in to one of the best bits of the movie. Actually it didn’t make much more sense in the movie, nevermind. My point being that you can follow it along fairly well but you’re gonna miss out on some of the gags. They love Evil Dead but even they can see it’s pretty dumb sometimes and they’re not afraid to say so.
Of course there is one thing I haven’t discussed and that may be the most important for any musical and that is the songs. They range in style with nothing too flamboyant instead nestling on the border on the rock/ pop side of things so don’t go expecting any Lloyd Webber here. But I certainly came out with about half the play list running through my head especially the demonic special war dance to bring about the end of the world near the finale even if Ash is right and they can’t do a decent Henry Winkler.
Now I know some of you are rightfully upset that I keep putting up these posts tagged Bruce Campbell and so far all we’ve had are comics and cosplay so in keeping with the musical theme of this post I present Psychostick.