George Brown alum Merritt Crews kills two characters
Evil Dead: The Musical, with George Brown graduate Merritt Crews in the roles of the air-headed Shelly and sure-footed Annie, is just as fun and ridiculous as the advertisements promised.
The play roughly follows the plot of the first movie in the Evil Dead trilogy, with a smattering of key elements from the second installment and the perfect amount of one-liner favourites from Army of Darkness, the comedic horror that closes out the cinematic series.
The audience was held captive right from the very first musical number, which featured some pretty ironic lyrics (considering what we all knew was to follow) to an unassuming-sounding pop song complete with cheesy jazz squares and spirit fingers. This was followed by rock ballads rife with dirty jokes, a disco death-vow from the demons and a Chicago-style number where a bit-part character acknowledges his own lack of lines before being blasted away mid-sentence by Ash, the hero.
Crews effortlessly jumped back and forth between her roles as token blonde, monster-fodder to assertive, fear-no-demon adventurer. While Shelly is humorously unaware of her own shortcomings, Annie brazenly brandishes her knowledge and abilities directly in the faces of the other characters.
When Shelly herself becomes a Kandarian demon, she plays the part of the half-decomposed, sex-pot perfectly, somehow managing to lace her high-pitched, ultra-girly voice with a demonic growl as she proclaimed, “I’m sexy. I’m cute. I’m evil to boot!”
The show is full of campy little bits that honour the films’ original glory, such as a visit from Annie’s recently-deceased father played by a man under a bedsheet holding a flashlight under his chin. Evil Dead is a hilarious delight for hard-core fans and newcomers a like.
However, it was clear from the crowd’s uproarious belly-laughter that the best part of the show was the finale where those in the Splatter Zone really got their money’s worth. The first four or five rows of the audience were drenched in blood in a five demons vs. one chainsaw stand off which left pools of blood at the feet of the garbage bag clad auditorium seats.
Thankfully, I could still read my notes through the blood splatters on the pages.