Evil Dead: The Musical (Review)

Falcon Theater offers a side-splitting parody perfect for Halloween

Oct 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Critic's Pick

Guess this genre. Five attractive college students take off to a remote cabin in the woods, dead set on a five-day sex-and-booze bender. Said cabin is abandoned, spooky and also happens to be the last known location of the Book of the Dead, a breezy beach read bound with human skin and inked in human blood. It’s not on Oprah’s list, but it does open a gate to Hell when read aloud.

I got it! It’s a horror movie! It’s Saw 1! No, not that one. Saw 2? No … Saw 35?

Wrong (except for the appearance of a saw): Try musical theater. Falcon Theater’s bawdy, bloody, side-splitting, horror-spoofing Evil Dead: The Musical has everything a great American musical should. There’s friendship, romance, a chainsaw, a decapitation, an homage to the King of Pop and an abundance of colorful language.

But where were we? Ah, yes, four knuckle-headed thrill-seekers in a haunted cabin. The sun has hardly set on our heroes when their troubles begin. Four of the group (and the right hand of the fifth) become possessed by evil, havoc-wreaking demons. All of the possessed, save the crafty hand, end up dead … a couple times.

The young cast can carry the tunes and deliver the punch lines. The boxy, see-the-wires space at Newport’s Monmouth Theatre somehow hides the tubing that pumps and squirts roughly four gallons of fake blood through the production and into (or onto) the audience. Beware the Saran-wrapped seating: Evil Dead’s “splatter zone” swallows up nearly half the house. An inventive crew executes a circus of cheesy, but not-so-easy special effects. When did you last see a chatty, demonic, mounted moose head and a sassy, disembodied hand in the same show?

Evil Dead: The Musical is simply wicked good. Take a poncho, but don’t take anything too seriously.

EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL, presented by Falcon Theater, continues through Nov. 6 at the Monmouth Theatre in Newport. Go here for showtimes and venue/ticket details.