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EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL 4D

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Tommy Wind Theater

3765 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-895-9787

website

$50-80

Tue-Sat 7:30pm

Musical

B-

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A musical-comedy adaptation of the Evil Dead movie franchise.

Where is it?

At the Tommy Wind Theater on the South Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

If you are a fan of the movie franchise and want to get splattered with "blood," then why not?

Why should I see this show?

Because you know who Ash, Linda, and Jake are.

What else do I need to know?

It's definitely an adult show with lots of foul language and cartoonishly gory violence.

What's the bottom line?

A silly show that is kept from reaching true camp heights by poor production values.

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FULL REVIEW

I'm not sure why someone thought it would be a good idea to turn the gory Evil Dead movie franchise series into a musical but it's probably worth noting that, according to the production's website, the concept was dreamed up in a Toronto bar.

The show takes plot points mostly from the first two movies, The Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead II (1987), and kind of nods at the third one Army of Darkness (1992), all of which were written and directed by Sam Raimi who later went on to direct all three of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies. It involves a group of young adults at a remote cabin in the woods, who prove that going to a remote cabin in the woods always ends poorly by accidentally unleashing an ancient demonic force that winds up possessing and/or killing pretty much everyone because, you know, evil. You don't have to have seen the films to follow what's going on here but if you have they throw lots of fan-favorite moments into the mix, from the possessed hand to S-Mart to the chainsaw prosthetic, all of which delighted the Evil Dead faithful in the audience.

While the films were campy (unintentionally or not), the stage version goes for full-on silly satire of both the movies and musicals in general with broad performances, groan-worthy jokes, and generic Broadway-style tunes. Oh, and blood. Lots and lots and lots of blood.

The first few rows are designated as the "Splatter Zone" and the Evil Dead-heads get t-shirts to soak up the sprays of fake gore that rain down on them every time someone - or some-thing (mwah-ha-ha) - gets stabbed, shot, disemboweled, beheaded, chain-sawed, or otherwise mutilated on stage. Sit here and you will get wet. Get up to go to the bathroom during the show and you will be punished. At the performance I saw, one young woman was literally chased around the theater by a "zombie."

There are moments of demented genius here. Songs like "Look Who's Evil Now," "Cabin in the Woods," and "What the F*** Was That?" do a great job of poking fun at horror movie tropes and the overall zaniness is hard not to smile at. But despite having played Off Broadway and in cities and countries around the world, this is not something you're going to see at the Tony Awards anytime soon. Then again, people looking for a "real" Broadway production will probably be next door at Jersey Boys anyway so it probably won't be a surprise that the caliber of the material is not necessarily first class.

So I'm willing to go along with the camp aspect of the show and did enjoy myself to a degree, but problems with this particular production were disappointing. All of the performers wore microphones but they were, at best, ineffective and at times not working at all. Masks are employed to represent the "possessed" state of being and they interfered even further, leaving some portions of the show completely inaudible. I'm sure there were some pretty funny bits in there but I couldn't hear a lot of them to be able to laugh.

The broad overacting, the occasionally off-key singing, the muddy lighting, the high-school drama club sets, and the bargain store props didn't help but they would have been forgivable, and even embraceable as part of the shtick of the show, if the sound quality was better.

It's worth noting I saw this production in its previous home at the V Theater so things might be better here. Maybe.

I'm being hard on the production because despite its problems I had a good time and I'd actually recommend the show for anyone who has seen the movies or just wants a goofy good time. I just wish I could recommend it more.

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