Evil Dead: The Musical
11:30 p.m. Saturday
51853 W 101st Street S., Drumright
Black-clad gunmen lurked behind the stage and along the aisles of the Boomstick Theater. Once Ash Williams (Chance Newman) took a chain saw to his demon-possessed girlfriend, the ambush ensued with the gunmen lifting their water guns filled with fake blood and unloading on the audience for “Evil Dead: The Musical.” One unsuspecting chap was hit directly in the mouth mid-laugh and nearly fell out of his chair.
Blood-soaked patrons had no one but themselves to blame for daring to sit in the “Splatter Zone” of the orgy of gore and camp. “Evil Dead: The Musical” is an ode to the film franchise helmed by Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man”) and starring Bruce Campbell.
The musical was cobbled together in 2003 by adoring fans who staged it in the back of a bar in Toronto. The torch has since been passed to other troupes around the world, and Newman decided it was time “Evil Dead: The Musical” came to Oklahoma to help celebrate the 13th year of his neighboring Scream Country Haunted Forest.
The play takes elements from “Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2″ and “Army of Darkness.” A pre-existing knowledge of the movies is helpful, but not necessary. The work is gleefully off-off-Broadway, embracing camp.
Beneath the buckets of blood and delightful tackiness are fun, embellished performances from trained actors, but also an understanding that there is no room for subtlety and nuance in the “Evil Dead” universe.
Newman admitted that although he is an “Evil Dead” fan, he was skeptical about the musical before finally watching it last year.
“How good could it be? It seemed like such an off-the-wall idea, but there is some really good music in it,” he said. “There is a ’50s doo-wop song, a country song, a tango. Before I saw it myself, I never would have imagined how many different styles it would have.”
Within two days of seeing it, Newman decided to bring the show to the sprawling Scream Country complex in Drumright. Since he didn’t have the luxury of a pre-existing stage with the crucial trapdoor, construction began last fall in a building converted to house the play. The first four rows were reserved for the Splatter Zone.
“Some shows will have one or two rows of splatter, but because we are Scream Country, we wanted to have as large a splatter zone as possible,” he said. “That was a question from the very beginning: How big can we make it? That’s what people love about ‘Evil Dead': all the over-the-top gore. The blood effects are part of what makes the show so funny. When you are getting sprayed with blood, you aren’t even paying attention what’s happening onstage.” “Charles Martin