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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 12, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 46
Front-row seats get bloody at Evil Dead
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Front-row seats get bloody at Evil Dead

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Evil Dead: The Musical
ArtsWest
Extended through November 20


This Halloween season is extended through almost Thanksgiving due to the sold-out houses at ArtsWest, making Evil Dead: The Musical a surprise hit of their season. The campy musical 'combines all the elements of the cult classic horror films Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness to make one of the craziest theatrical experiences of all time,' says ArtsWest.

These three movies starring Bruce Campbell have developed a cult following that seems to include all ages, given the audience reactions at the ArtsWest performances. Even older patrons seem to get the insider jokes that references the movies embedded in the script.

It's a thin plot - kind of a 'hurry up and get them into the cabin in the woods, already' timeline. 'Cabin in the Woods' is the first song. Once there, spooky things immediately start happening. Five college students actually break into the cabin. It's not theirs to begin with, yet they are prepared to spend spring break there.

Stock characters are the hunk (James Padilla), his girl (Elise Campello), his sister (Lisa Hill), and his best friend (Ryan Demerick), and someone that the friend brings (EmilyRose Frasca). As they rummage around the cabin, they discover a diary and The Book of The Dead (the Necronomicon), which instantly lets evil loose in the world. Zombie energy rapidly transforms every inhabitant except for the hunk, who tries to shoot and dismember everyone - in self-defense, remember.

Later, the daughter of the owner shows up (Kate Jaeger) with her paramour (Daniel Stoltenberg) and a local guide (Isaiah Crowson). She knows about the book and how to rid the world of the demons on the loose. Eventually, after lots of spurting blood and mayhem, order is returned, and the zombies are vanquished.

Padilla does a nice job projecting the square-jawed, deadpan, hunky Ash, though it doesn't seem to bother him a bit that he's swiftly having to shoot or dismember his girlfriend, sister, and best friend. Jaeger really shows everyone else up when she enters, bringing the level of the show up several levels of professionalism. Much of the rest of the time, it feels pretty slammed-together and overly haphazard.

The set, by Dan Schuy, is a hoot, with many set items having a life of their own and chimneys opening up and books talking, etc. Costumer Margo Walker has fun with tear-away costuming and several sets of the same clothing that get torn and bloodied over time. Lighting designer Josh Randall does good work with spooky lighting changes, and sound by Rob Witmer adds to the creepiness.

The small band, headed by music director Kim Dare on synthesizer, was totally on target. Her musicians included drums by Zac Stowell and bass by Alex Lathum.

Those who sit in the front row are given the choice of wearing a poncho or not, due to the absolute guarantee of getting gobs of fake blood on their clothing. Even those seated a row or two back are not immune to the mayhem. They're even selling T-shirts to get bloody and then get signed by the cast! Way to make a buck on the side! But they're limiting the attendees to age 16 or older due to adult content.

For more information, go to www.artswest.org or call 206-938-0339.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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