This is not everyone’s thing. That is one way to say it. Another way might be that if you don’t want cheap jokes and gallons upon gallons upon gallons of fake blood soaking your underwear and socks- then maybe this isn’t for you. But with Halloween around the corner, if this seems like a totally awesome time, get your ass down to the Motor House to catch Evil Dead the Musical brought to you by Deer in the Spotlight Productions.
For those who have not witnessed the cult classic in any form, might I recommend watching the movie prior to attendance. Not because there is a complex plot or anything- just because if you don’t know what is waiting for you, you might be in shock and awe. The plot of this low budget slasher film is that five college students go to cabin in the woods for a vacation. They didn’t bring a tent or anything and break into an abandoned place to stay for a few nights. They brought the essentials, alcohol, condoms, maple syrup, a chainsaw. Ash’s sister, Cheryl is the first to be possessed by evil spirits in the woods. After the trees gang up and the house goes haywire- the kids discover an ancient book and a tape recorder. The archeologist who stayed there was trying to uncover the secrets from “The Book of the Dead.” In succession the kids fall prey to this evil force except for Ash who manages to defeat the demons and survive to make more movies in this franchise.
The true testament to this show is all of things that happen when the show isn’t going on. The cast and crew come out and make jokes, blow up condoms, and walk around spraying people with fake blood. And p.s. Ponchos apparently are for pussies, and although wearing one, I was soaked to the bone. (Did you see my note in the Intro about my socks and underwear?) Lesson learned friends.
Michael Bliss resumes his role as Ash, the lead zombie killer with a chainsaw hand. His wide eyes and deadpan delivery, even when making a complete fool of himself, secure this title with ease. His right hand man (get it?) is Scott, a role reprised by Rance Denton. Denton has a few more scenes where he snickers and giggles while trying to keep it together. In his defense, it is hard to act serious when you are flinging your intestines about and slowly dying for a good ten-minute sequence. Ellen Manuel gets the most laughs as Cheryl (dumb bitch) with her horrible puns and pony tails. Taunting your brother is fun enough, but being evil, dead, and picking on him takes it to a whole new level. Sydney Phillips pulls double duty as Annie, Scott’s ditzy girlfriend, and Shelly, the archeologist’s daughter who helps save the day and loses most of her clothing along the way. The silent but deadly Ed is played by Jordan Baumiller who really shines when he milks the stage for his dramatic solo number, “Bit Part Demon.” Steve Flickinger gets to be the wise cracking old coot Jake, who looks dashing in a rolled straw hat. Matthew Wolfe is living his best life as a stuffed moose head on a wall, and then later a real moose being hacked by a chainsaw. Shemp #1 and Shemp #2 are Lanoree Blake and Michael Maistros respectively. They are part of the crew that plays a myriad of other characters and serves up the comedy before and after the show as well as intermission.
The lights and sound were probably pretty good. I have no idea. Between chainsaws, guns, and wiping fake blood off my protective googles to see, taking notes also hit the skids. So this show if from memory, and memory serves that I remember there being lights and sound and a fuck ton of blood. Did I mention my socks yet? The choreographer listed is Bambi Johnson, who I credit for putting together a unified dance number in an incredibly small space with way too many people on stage. That looks complicated. The music for this one is not a live band, but shout outs to the stage manager, Lithia Knopp, for making it look easy anyway.
This production travels and is only Baltimore for a few more performances before they take the bloodbath on the road to some other unsuspecting small town- so get tickets now!
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? Like blood? Like puns? Like bad cult movies turned into nerdy musicals? This is your lucky day! Just like the cult classic movie only hopped up for musical theater dorks- this is a spectacle! A sticky, bloody, rollicking good time spectacle. Grab some friends, get some drinks and come get your Halloween season started right! (I)
Running at the Motor House through Oct 27th. Running time: I have no idea because I got fake blood in my cheap ass watch and it stopped working. Let’s guess 90 minutes or so with an intermission. It’s a guess.