Evil Dead – The Musical

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Review: Black Button Eyes’ Evil Dead the Musical

Published February 8, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Cheryl Williams is the specter that forever haunts my friend Kirsten. The classic image of that Evil Dead character’s zombiefied face peeking through a crack in the cellar door endlessly chills her. Thus, we have a proud woman of horror being successfully thrilled by another proud woman in horror.

This cycle continues with Black Button Eyes Productions current mounting of Evil Dead the Musical. Enacted by an incredibly talented ensemble of eight, this Midwest event is proudly presided over by actress Caitlin Jackson’s often ecstatic take on Cheryl. Her energy and skill, coincidentally, make this role a true celebration of one of my favorite yearly events, February’s Woman in Horror Month. Jackson’s ability to present multiple shades of one individual in a comedic terror piece proves that the eclecticism and uniqueness of the macabre arts are often most truly presented in a feminine form. Indeed, suffering and the humor needed to overcome certain tragedies are an essential part of her take on this shy, often abused wallflower who finally finds the devilish power within. Cheryl_Possessed_by_the_Demons

Of course, this is a rather heady take on a show that promotes goofy, blood stained shenanigans. Combining plot points from Sam Raimi’s first two Evil Dead films, EDTM finds proud S-Mart employee Ash Williams breaking into a woods strewn cottage with his closest family and friends. The discovery and subsequent reading of a skin stained, rustic book soon finds him surrounded by possessed, tune humming demons. Therefore, even with the help of an accomplished, talkative scholar, Ash may soon find himself dead before dawn!

Nicely, by hiring a diverse ensemble and toning down some of the more obvious frat boy antics of the original material, director Ed Rutherford presents one of the more balanced productions of this beloved and zany show. Jon Beal’s fight choreography presents all sexes in a strong light and the live band, led by Oliver Townsend, gives audience members an immediate, joyful feel for the limb flinging proceedings.

Evil Dead Jordan

But this would all be for naught, perhaps, without the proper take on Ash, a character adored by scare fiends, far and wide. Fortunately, the handsome and charismatic Jordan Dell Harris nails it here. Coming off like Bruce Campbell’s younger doppelganger, Harris sings and dances with charming aplomb. Nicely, he intuitively adds an uncomplicated honesty and heart to Ash’s often over-the-top bravado, succeeding in winning the crowds of people, whom have been rightly flocking to this show, over entirely.

Evil Dead the Musical runs through February 16th at The Pride Arts Center in Chicago. Further information is available at https://www.facebook.com/blackbuttoneyesproductions/.  Tell ‘em Kirsten and Cheryl sent ya!

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Review: Evil Dead – The Musical

Published October 3, 2014 by biggayhorrorfan

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Sometimes, I just get tired of fighting off those milk encrusted kitchen demons alone. (What I wouldn’t give for a good dagger infused mop or two, as well!) Luckily, I no longer have to attack these undead annoyances as a solo entity – for, at last, Ash is in town! Well, at least until October 12th!

Yes, Evil Dead – The Musical has finally landed with a huge body thudding splatter in Chicago and, for horror fans, Halloween has definitely come a bit early this year!

Lyricist and writer George Reinblatt’s immensely silly homage to the original Evil Dead series is full of winking nods to the Sam Raimi classics with plenty of goofy, fun hearted horror and sex comedy tropes of all varieties thrown in for good measure, as well. It’s definitely not a serious blast of terror, but it’s just about the most stress-free, joy inducing theatrical experience that lovers of fright are going to experience for awhile.

Plot-wise, as expected, Ash and crew head out to a mysterious cabin and after reading from a Book of the Dead, mayhem soon ensues. Everything is in place, here, from (sister) Cheryl’s rape by trees to her subsequent jailing in the rickety vacation home’s basement. Joined in the second act by characters from the similar Evil Dead 2, this production ends with blood flying in outrageous amounts across the front rows of the theater and the sticky, grinning audience members (from the premium rows) corralled out the side doors of the theater. Evil Dead Tour 2014 0246

Obviously produced on a fairly modest budget, this production still delivers with plenty of stage magic. In particular, Ash’s severing of his hand is nicely effective and the emergence of (girlfriend) Linda’s talking head is creatively handled, as well.

Nicely, director Christopher Bond concentrates on characterization as well as hi-jinks with the talented performers. As Ash, David Sajewich charms with everyman bravado while Demi Zaino is an unrepentant delight as Cheryl. Callie Johnson, meanwhile, beams layers of personality into Shelly, a bouncy bimbo-type, and Annie, a take-charge, self important scholar.

Evil Dead – The Musical runs until October 12th, 2014 at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.theatreinchicago.com and http://www.broadwayinchicago.com.

Be sure to keep up with the production (and its various incarnations) at http://www.evildeadthemusical.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Evil-Dead-The-Musical.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan