Stage » Theater Reviews + Features

Evil Dead: The Musical at No Name Players

The whole thing's just a big, lowbrow burlesque aiming to be as silly (and bloody) as possible.

by

comment

People are funny. No Name Players presents Evil Dead: The Musical, and because of the amount of stage blood sprayed over the audience, the entire theater is covered in plastic. Plus, you must choose to either wear a provided plastic poncho or sign a waiver.

And yet the place was packed — and practically shivering with anticipation!

Evil Dead: The Musical isn't meant for regular theater-goers. But as limbs were severed and heads hacked and chainsaws pressed into service, these audience members were having the time of their lives.

The script, with a book by George Reinblatt and music by Reinblatt, Christopher Bond and Melissa Morris, is a camptastic take on Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy — most specifically, Evil Dead 2, which, in case you missed it, is a shlocky gore-fest about five college kids in an abandoned cabin. Of course, zombies breach the time-space continuum and pretty soon there are dead, undead and soon-to-be-dead creatures all over the place.

Evil Dead 2 was, in fact, Raimi's parody of his The Evil Dead, and here comes Reinblatt parodying a parody. The whole thing's just a big, lowbrow burlesque aiming to be as silly (and bloody) as possible. The fact that it's a one-joke play — "here comes some more blood!" — is perhaps not a legitimate complaint: Like most cult shows, you either love it totally or not at all. And — I can't stress this enough — the audience went nuts.

A huge hand for the design staff — Jesse Poole-Van Swol, Eve Bandi, Ryan McMasters, Beth Steinberg, Scott Nicklos, Steve Tolin, Dale Capellanio, Kyle Roberts, Mike Strapac, Heidi Nagle and Andrew Hosmer for their amazing theatrical know-how — and for the crew that brings it to life.

With the guidance of director Don DiGiulio, it's a mammoth production which, not unsurprisingly for a company renting a space, could maybe use a few more run-throughs to polish things up and sharpen the focus. That this completely fearless cast — with especially funny performances by Julianne Avolio, Maggie Carr and Brad Stephenson — has managed to get this far is astonishing. By the time you go, it'll be the idiotically goofball production it wants to be.

Add a comment