Even from the relative safety of Row K, back in the civilian zone, I could feel the spray of the blood. I think next time we might just sit in the splatter zone.
Now I love plays, and generally I love the witty wordy ones that delve deeply into the psyche and leave me pondering the human condition. That's not exactly what I saw last night.
Evil Dead: the Musical is pretty much the complete opposite of that. But I have to say, it was the most fun I have ever had at the theatre. It's a campy, over-the-top, cheesy, raunchy production and the entire audience loved it.
After reading the prominently posted Splatter Zone Rules, we entered Ground Zero Theatre to the caterwaulings of Pat Benatar telling us that hell is for children. I think at the very least we should have taken that as a sign of things to come. Obviously some people were very well prepared. I spotted people dressed in garbage bag shirts making their way into their seats in the Splatter Zone. I suspect some of them have seen the play before.
Evil Dead: the Musical is, of course, based on the Sam Raimi movies, and is refreshingly self-aware, often making ironic references to the source material. I love that kind of shit,
I have watched clips from other productions of this play, and, while I realise that much is lost in translation, I must say that the Ground Zero Theatre production looks like one of the best ones on offer.
First off, the set is great. From the cutout car in which the five college students are making their way to the cottage in the woods during spring break, to the cottage proper in which everything from the kitchen cupboard doors to the mounted moose head becomes animated and malevolent, the entire stage comes across like a really great haunted house ride at the fair.
There are catchy songs and there is doomed romance; there are evil spirits and there are forests which commit sexual interference. And by god there are dance numbers. A little bit Rocky Horror Picture Show, a little bit Canadian Blood Services promotional videos, Evil Dead: the Musical gives you some soft shoe, some shimmy, some come on big boy, I dare you to touch me there.
If you get a chance to see this production, somewhere in the world, do see it. If you really want the complete experience, by all means be prepared to sit in the Splatter Zone and have the zombie demons work their way past your row where they slap you senseless with their dripping intestines. And when the chainsaw gets fired up and the body parts start flying, be prepared to be a critical part of the crimson shower.
Or be a scaredy cat like me and sit in the civilian seats and live vicariously through the characters onstage and through those in the first few rows. Either way, you will have a bloody good time.