Fringe review: Evil Dead: The Musical (4 Stars)

Evil Dead: The Musical
• 4 stars out of 5
• Stage 36, La Cite Francophone — L’Unitheatre

When your source material is one of the campiest horror movies of the past 40 years, you don’t have a lot of room to manoeuvre. Evil Dead has a huge cult following, rocketing director Sam Raimi into the spotlight. If you are doing the musical version, it’s going to be a massive pair of shit-kicking boots you’re going to have to fill.

Evil Dead: The Musical at this year’s Fringe does a great job with the source material, putting their own spin wherever they can on the 1981 classic. Straight Edge Theatre has done an incredible job with Mr. Raimi’s Opus, at turns both reverent and innovative.

The cast of five teenagers is looking for a getaway, a chance to throw down and have some fun outside of parental supervision. They pull off the highway and venture deep into the woods, over a rickety bridge to a creepy cabin. A cabin in the woods, you might say.

Things go from bad to worse as an ancient evil manifests itself into a cacophony of horrors our heroes will have to dispatch in order to survive. It’s at this point that I should warn you that the first two rows are designated the “splash zone,” with an imposing tarp covering the ground. You will get splattered in gore.

Taking on the role immortalized by Bruce Campbell, Matthew Lindholm does an incredible job as Ash. He screams, he shouts, he attaches a terrifying chainsaw to his sawn-off limb in order to dispatch the undead horde. “This … is my boomstick!” he shouts with just the right combination of joy and insanity.

Yes it is, Ash, yet it is.

Justin Bell

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