review :: evil dead- the musical
when i was younger, and other people were able to set rules about what i could and could not watch on the television, i used to dream of having free reign on the movie channels, so that i could watch stuff that would scare me to death. we seek out our fears, conquer them and find new ones on a a regular basis throughout our lives and there is nothing so appealing, especially at a young age, as a fear that we are prevented from confronting.
of course, when i finally was able to confront those things that held the promise of so much fear, i found that almost none of them were truly scary. they were either bland, or they were comedic. yet somehow, the comedic ones became dear to my heart in a way that i could not have predicted. thus went my introduction to camp.
"camp" in this day and age has been so overdone that it is almost impossible to appreciate in the same way. what can you say when the most commercially successful endeavour of the kind of camp cinema, john waters, has found life as a mainstream success on the stage and is now being remade as a big-budget film billed as an adaptation of the broadway hit? parody parodying parody. somehow, although in theory it never had one, camp has lost its soul.
with that in mind, evil dead : the musical, based on the sam raimi cult film, could be a cynical exercise that fails on any number of levels. except that it isn't. somehow, despite the potential pitfalls, it works.
while never taking itself seriously (a patent impossibility), it has decent production values. the actors give it their all (although some sound issues meant that the voices were way too quiet at times). the writing is remarkably clever, allowing anyone to enjoy, but offering special insights to those people (about 95% of the patrons, if i had to guess) who have seen the original movie.
musicals often fall flat for me at the part where the music starts (bring me the head of andrew llyod webber), but, in this sort of a setting, the inherent silliness of almost all musical numbers is, of course, part of the fun. the songs are short, punchy, catchy and well-delivered. there are, perhaps, a few too many of them as the play loses just a little bit of steam towards the end, but the quality level is generally excellent. i will single out "what the f#&*k was that!?!" as a particular high point in the show. (you can see it on the web site, linked above.)
if you choose to attend, this sort of spectacle really does require some level of audience participation to be fully appreciated. to that end, i would recommend getting tickets in the less comfortable but more vulnerable first row, also known as the "splatter zone". if you can't figure out why it's called that, you probably shouldn't be going to this show to begin with.
and speaking of camp, check out evil dead (the film) star bruce campbell in a couple of virulently weird old spice commercials.