Review: Evil Dead: The Musical

August 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm (comedy, horror, music) (, , )

In my ongoing quest for the Mother of the Year award, I took my 13-year-old and 16-year-old sons to see “Evil Dead: The Musical” at the Balagan Theatre in Seattle. Everybody who’s heard anything about this musical knows that they throw a lot of stage blood around. We were delighted at this prospect. In fact, we paid a little extra to sit in the front row, known as the “Mega-Splatter Zone.” We’re huge fans of the Evil Dead movies. (Yes, I even liked the remake. Shut up.) We’d been listening to the soundtrack from the musical on YouTube and loving it. We were pumped! And we weren’t disappointed.

The Balagan Theatre is small but cozy. When I handed my tickets to a young man in green camo, he eyed my boys and said “You do know about the adult content in this show, right?”

“Oh yes,” I replied. “They’ve seen the movies.”

The camo kid started to look worried. “Well, it’s not gore,” he said. “There’s, um…”

“Yes?” I smiled at him brightly.

“Sex jokes,” he muttered.

What? Sex jokes? What an awful thought! Everyone knows teenage boys don’t like sex jokes! “Thanks for the warning,” I said, trying not to laugh at his “Ermahgerd I said ‘sex’ to somebody’s mom” face. I figured that years of exposure to “South Park” and “Family Guy” had prepared my boys for whatever ED:TM could dish out. Erm… more on that later.

We wandered in and settled into our front-row seats. There was a huge, 3-foot-tall Necronomicon in front of the very basic “cabin in the woods” set. Interesting. The theater had put together a wonderful playlist. We rocked out to Rob Zombie, Sweet, Alice Cooper, and the Ramones. The lights dimmed at last, and…the first few chords of “Sweet Transvestite” blasted from the speakers! WTF? We had no idea, but we loved it. A dude in manties and a corset came out and ROCKED that song. He had an amazing voice—almost what the old folks (not me dammit) call an Irish tenor. Strong, silvery, and flexible. He ended the song by tossing a cup of “blood” on us. Yep, we were in for it now.

It all started out innocently enough. The cast sang the ridiculously chipper opening song, “Cabin in the Woods,” accompanied by a giant bunny and a very rude squirrel. The sets were super lo-fi—a cutout car carried by the singing cast members. It went perfectly with the utterly silly vibe of the show. We were hooked.

The acting was fun. Everybody was on their toes, and the jokes flew. Yep, a lot of them were dopey sex jokes, of the type you’d find in your average American Pie-like movie. Nothing that would cause my little angels to go blind or anything. There were plenty of nods to (and outright quotes from) the first two Evil Dead movies. Plenty of geek fodder for the fanboys and girls out there. Things started to get really silly when Ash’s perky little sister got felt up through the window by an evil tree. This was a rocking bit of physical comedy that just got funnier as it went along.

Things went on as they do in Evil Dead movies, and pretty soon people were turning into Candarian demons, and inanimate objects were talking to the cast. My favorite was a Candarian demon moose head who launched into the delightful song “Join Us.” It was a terrific production number, and by the time it was over, I was ready to show up at my local Candarian demon recruiting office.

The songs were all terrific. (Check them out here.) With the exception of “Frankie,” who later played Good Old Reliable Jake, none of the cast members had really exceptional voices, but it just didn’t matter. They were so enthusiastic and the material was so funny that it all worked. The actor who played Ash did a splendid job of morphing from a meek-seeming housewares employee to one-handed, chainsaw-wielding, boomstick-toting badass.

Around the middle of the play, we found out just how rude it was going to get. Anyone who’s seen the movies knows that the trees in the Evil Dead franchise have a taste for human flesh, and I don’t mean for dinner. They like to sex up hapless wanderers in the woods. I wondered exactly how the production was going to handle THAT.

Well, they handled it with taste and sensitivity. The horny trees were portrayed by a couple of guys in tree suits, with 18-inch rubber dongs hanging off of them. (Proving that this guy was wrong.) Not only did they rock out with their–well, you know, but they used their equipment to gesture, and even communicate. By the time one of the trees was gently bonking Ash on the head to get his attention, we were howling.

About the blood. Whenever a character was hurt or killed, “blood” would spurt from him or her via tube, or sometimes just a squeeze bottle wielded by the victim, which was hilarious. They ratcheted up the gore in the second half of the play. we’re talking super-soakers here. One poor sap got dragged up from the audience and had a bucket of blood poured over his head. The boys and I were sitting pretty in our white (now red) t-shirts and clear plastic safety glasses. Our attire seemed to amuse some of the cast members, who singled us out for extra bloodspray. We left the theater dripping but happy.

Would I recommend this show to everybody? Hell no! If you’re young and tender, or just easily offended by stupid sex jokes, don’t go. If you don’t have a very silly sense of humor, it’s probably not for you. But if you’re an Evil Dead fan who appreciates good music and nonstop laughs, catch ED:TM anywhere you can! It continues to tour the country with a variety of companies, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Now if only “Re-Animator: The Musical” would come to town…

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Movie review: (comedy) “Bruno” (2009)

December 10, 2010 at 6:06 pm (comedy, dark comedy, movies)

 Definitely fun, but just not as funny as Borat. As always, Sacha Cohen’s total immersion in his character is rather amazing.

Obviously, this character is perfect for tormenting the homophobic, which he does with gusto. But let’s face it, homophobic folks are pretty low-hanging fruit (ha ha). It’s not hard to piss them off, and they’re not that interesting. (Okay, watching Ron Paul run like a little girl was kinda funny.)

My favorite parts of the movie were early on, when the Bruno character was messing with people in the fashion industry. That was a hoot. Now there are some people who need taken down a peg!

There were parts of this flick that made me uncomfortable, because I was quite literally afraid for the actors’ lives. I think those guys on the hunting trip would have shot Sacha/Bruno if there hadn’t been cameras on them. I really do. And the cage match…omigod, how did they get those guys out of there? They were completely surrounded by a crowd that wanted to rip them into little tiny pieces. I’m thinking airlift.

Anyway, if you think SBC is funny, this movie is worth a rental. His butchered German is hilarious all by itself. And as Roger Ebert pointed out, there’s never a dull moment.

-Rated R
-3 out of 5 stars
-Grownup movie

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Scaring people at Safeway

December 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm (comedy)

Lady in Grocery Line: “You have a lot of tattoos.”

Me: Yes, I do.” LiGL: “What is that one? Is that an occult symbol?” (Pointing at my veves.)

Me: “No, they’re religious symbols.”

LiGL: “What religion?” Me: “Voodoo. It’s pretty much a Voodoo yin-yang.”

LiGL: “Aren’t you afraid of attracting dark forces?”

Me: “I don’t h…ave to try to attract them. They follow me around like puppies.”

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Movie review: (comedy) “Furry Vengeance” (2010)

December 10, 2010 at 4:17 am (comedy, movies)

Dear God. This movie was jaw-droppingly crappy. Boring, predictable, broad physical comedy that everybody’s seen a bunch of times, and a muddled plot. How the hell do you muddle the plot of a bone-simple “developers vs. animals” movie?

Usually any movie with cute animals in it will get at least a 2 from me, for the cute factor alone. And I will admit there were plenty of cute raccoons, squirrels, possums, (yay) an otter, and even a darling little albino ferret. But they had surprisingly little screen time, and the animators kept messing with them to get facial expressions and body postures that were beyond unnatural, they were at the blackest pit of the Uncanny Valley.

If you’re tempted to watch this to find out how bad it really is, I can’t stop you. But I strongly advise against it, you’ll never get that hour and a half back. If you want to see a fun animals vs. humans movie, go watch “Over the Hedge” or “Open Season.” Those actually made me laugh. And I didn’t want to jab a pencil through my eye halfway through the flick.

-Rated PG
-1 out of 5 stars
-Don’t inflict this thing on ANYBODY!

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