Director: Christopher Bond
Music: Frank Cipolla
Book/Lyrics: George Reinblatt
Producer: Jeffrey Latimer Entertainment
I have always wanted to dabble in the hamminess of a satirical play. What better play than the cult movie that popularized the idea of five teenagers fooling around in a cabin filled with demonic evil? I had talked my wife into getting tickets for this, but then had a tinge of conscience when I learned that this musical is crude. I promised I would make the most redemptive time out of this rated-R play. To my favor, I found out is that it was pretty enjoyable after all.
Ash, Scott, Cheryl, Linda, and Shelly stay at an abandoned cabin in the woods, hoping to relax, drink beer, have sex, and enjoy the country air. They find an evil book called the Necromonicon. After replaying a recording of a scientist reciting the evil omen that releases the book, the group is in great danger. While, Shelly, Ash’s sister, tries to investigate a sound she hears out in the dark, trees chase her down, and she is transformed into an evil demon.
One by one the other members are transformed as well by the spirits unleashed from the book. Only Ash is left to confront the Necromonicon with an ancient religious dagger, a chainsaw, and an axe to aid him. Unfortunately, Ash does not have the support of his right hand as it gets possessed and tries to kill him. Because of this, he must part with his hand in the first of many bloody messes on stage.
Cut to the new scene where Ed and Annie are heading toward the haunted cabin to help vanquish the evil discovered by Annie’s father. They meet a helpful redneck named Reliable Jake who guides them to the cabin.
In the final act, Ash must fight a possessed moose head, his own hand, five demons, and help Annie send the evil back into a black hole. All this is accomplished with a chain saw, hilarious songs, and the first ever musical splatter zone.
Violence/Gore: Blood splatters everywhere, hands get sawed off by chainsaws, demons have bullet holes, people are scalped and beheaded. This all happens with low budget special effects that are actually quite impressive.
Sex/Nudity: Lots of jokes from Scott about what he is going to do to Shelly sexually and other sexual references. There is a male penis prop for humor, a few masturbation jokes, and one of the headless females removes her shirt, but it is actually a boy’s chest.
Language/Profanity: The actors drop the F-word multiple times in songs because there is a song called, “What the F%$# was that?” Scott uses the B-word a lot. The S-word is dropped and the Lord’s name is used in vain a few times along with tons of irreverent humor.
Negative Elements: The satire of the whole play is that Ash is a lone survivor of a demon awakening, and he must vanquish it with an ancient spell. The play makes very light of evil, incorporating the transformation of the demons into a rock opera. The movie took itself very seriously with the occult, but this play serves to make fun of it.
My Soap Box: With the release of Deadpool and this play showing in Toronto, I think we are ready to wrestle with the rated-R content issue. Many Christians are arguing for and against watching morally questionable movies. I think the real question is, “Can I participate in something that clearly has content that God would disapprove of?”
I shouldn’t judge and I won’t. I just saw a very bloody and immature play about demon killing, and I enjoyed it. But I cannot help but think how serious God is when he asks us to pursue only what is pure, noble, praiseworthy, and good, and to think on those things. We as believers like to tote that we have freedom in Christ, and that makes us innocent by the law. We also like to remind that all content should be put in a category of “It offends/sickens me” and “I am okay with that.”
But consider this, if there is something in a movie, song, play, comic book, or video game that God cannot tolerate, how appropriate is it that you can tolerate it? Obviously this is a can of worms that I struggle with and will probably have tons of error on my part. I heard a Bible study once that said we should constantly apologize to our brains for seeing content that is not pure, noble, praiseworthy, good, true, lovely or excellent (Phil 4:8). I feel like that is the right direction if we are going to adopt minds that are closer to our Savior’s.
This play was a thrill ride as fun as a Disney musical, and as exciting as a box of grenades thrown at a zombie shed. The actors were campy and cheesy in all their horror movie trope lines, and it fit the corniness of the humor. The songs were bordering on silly like “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons” and rocking like “Look Whose Evil Now?” The lead actor, Ryan Ward, who played Ash, resembled a young Bruce Campbell. He was cocky and very action line-driven. The songs are a mix of genres borrowing from Grease and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Many of the scenes seemed like they came directly out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Every actor had a comedic spot in the limelight, which insured that the laughter would keep rolling in. In the finale, the actors get into a huge chainsaw fight and the first four rows of the audience get drenched in blood. Speaking of blood, the special effects were very impressive. Whether it was the large necro book flipping pages and creating ink out of thin air, the automated hand, the talking household objects, or the constant blood spilling, the production was very exciting. The lighting and sound effects were also superb.
Obviously, this play is not for everyone. The Randolph Theatre was filled with people who loved this cult movie. The scripting and choreography was cartoonish, but this production is not for kids. Only a true horror film geek will get every reference in the play, but it was enjoyable none the less.
I recommend Evil Dead: The Musical highly for its excellence, silliness, and execution. If you never get a chance to see it you will still have a full, holy, and satisfying life. As for me…I need to apologize to my brain for seeing some of those things, but also praise the production for making theater so much fun.
The Bottom Line
I recommend Evil Dead: The Musical highly for its excellence, silliness and execution. If you never get a chance to see it you will still have a full, holy, and satisfying life. As for me...I need to apologize to my brain for seeing some of those things, but also praise the production for making theater so much fun.