Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Definitely Groovy: Evil Dead The Musical

I've been trying to see Evil Dead, The Musical since I first heard about it but timing never allowed it. Also, I was a little bit afraid that it would be an absolute fanboy cheesefest with clunky songs that only worked to integrate dialog from Sam Raimi's classic film trilogy.

Luckily, there's nothing clunky about Evil Dead, The Musical. It's a rather inspired work that pulls together choice bits of the first two EVIL DEAD films with dialog from ARMY OF DARKNESS (the medieval dead) and the third film's American S-Mart denouement. The plot isn't anything new to EVIL DEAD fans -- a group of twentysomethings on vacation in the spooky woods in a creepy cottage that becomes sieged by evil forces. Everything is held together by a strong musical backbone of genuinely funny songs. There are clever moments of self-reflexive commentary about the EVIL DEAD films along with critiques of the musical form. My favorite bit had to be the ever-reliable Jake (Mike Nahrgang) discussing his lack of a Bobbi Jo character due to some redundancy she would bring to the story.

All of the performers are terrific with Ryan Ward standing out as a fitting, square-jawed Ash. He's got a great set of pipes, delivers his wry lines with proper panache, and shows a terrific physicality as he takes on the slapstick stunts required. I imagine that Evil Dead The Musical would fail without a strong Ash in the mix. With Ward on stage, that will never happen.

Evil Dead The Musical has been held over at the Diesel Playhouse until at least June of 2008. I recommend you get your groove on and get over there pronto.

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