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  Review: “Evil Dead 1&2:  The Musical”  
Posted 2003-08-14 by Tony Walsh
Evil Dead 1&2:  The Musical

August 14-16, 20-23
The Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave., Toronto.
Tickets $17/$15 students
Call 416.723.EVIL

Horny teenagers on spring break. A cabin in the woods. A little brown book called the Necronomicon. What could possibly go wrong?

All hell breaks loose in the deliciously brainy "Evil Dead 1&2:The Musical," adapted from Sam Raimi's seminal Evil Dead films. The musical, directed by Christopher Bond, written by George Reinblatt, and blessed by Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell himself, cranks the camp factor of the movies all the way up to "666."

Recommended Links 

Evil Dead (the Movie)

EvilDead 1&2:  The Musical

Article by Tony Walsh:
Bruce Campbell's Zombies of Hollywood

Article by Tony Walsh:
Bruce Campbell


Whether you've seen Raimi's Evil Dead movies or not, regardless of your appreciation for musical theatre, and despite your natural aversion to Candarian demons, your enjoyment of "Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical" is absolutely unavoidable. From backstage to upstage, everything about the production speaks to the exuberance of Beyond Chutleigh Productions, its explosive cast and stalwart crew.

Like its big-screen inspiration, "Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical" is low-budget, but high-impact. Shotguns, ancient knives, axes... all the trimmings of the classic tale of boy meets girl, girl turns into zombie, boy fastens chainsaw to severed hand and takes on the Army of Darkness. Admirably aping the chin of Evil Dead's original star Bruce Campbell is the eerily-similar Ryan Ward, who has main character Ash's transformation from S-Mart housewares peon to boomstick-wielding superhero down to a science. Ward is tasked with playing the musical's only straight-man, and despite the side-splitting mayhem surrounding him, was completely in character for the show's preview performance. Although a number of Ward's songs were outside of his comfortable vocal range, he did a fine job on ditties such as the syrupy duet "Housewares Employee," the tangoesque "What the Fuck Was That," and the teary-eyed "I Am Not a Killer."

Ward's skilled supporting cast includes smirky Matthew Olmstead as frat boy Scott, earnest Victoria Nestorowicz as Ash's girlfriend Linda, tasty Mackenzie Lush as Scott's belle Shelley, and fabulously-talented Danielle Meierhenry, who plays Ash's demure-slash-wicked sister, the Necronomicon's first victim. Meierhenry gets to deliver both the best and worst one-liners of the show, and shines on the tune "Join Us," a cacophonic call for Ash's allegiance to the Dark Side where she is accompanied by googly-eyed plush animals, a plastic skull, and other previously-dormant elements of the small cabin set.

"Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical" makes ample use of sight-gags, quick makeup changes, and clever stage tricks to simulate (and sometimes reproduce) the splatterific impact of the original movies. Gore, dismemberment, disembowelment—all the juicy tidbits of a great horror production were done up in style. And all this to the tuneful tinkerings of a live band helmed by Frank Cipolla. Cipolla collaborated with vocal director Melissa Morris and deadly duo Bond and Reinblatt to create the soundtrack, which, frankly, I'd rather listen to than Rocky Horror any day of the week.

There's plenty of ill fate flying around "Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical," but bad Candarian mojo means bloody buckets of laughs for audiences during the show's brief run at Toronto's Tranzac Club. If "Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical" doesn’t become a giant smash hit, I'll eat my heart out.

"Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical" opens August 14, 2003 at the Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto. Tickets are $17 or $15 for students. Call 416.723.EVIL for more information.

-- written by Tony Walsh
-- edited by Tony Walsh
-- photos: Ryan Ward as Ash, by Brad Lapp
Linking to this article is fine. Reprints are by permission of the author only.
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Comment posted by Duraly
August 15, 2003 @ 9:04 am
when (if ever) will we see this in st louis. all of us deadites are craving to see this live or on video....hint.... hint
Comment posted by Komrad
August 16, 2003 @ 10:48 am
when i first heard about this show i went ape shit. i am a huge ED fan and would love to see the show. anyone wanna give me a lift to torornto?
Comment posted by Sandra
August 16, 2003 @ 1:30 pm
Well, I would love to see this play too as my niece is starring in it. Wish I was in Toronto too. Good luck from your Auntie Sandra if you happen to read this.
Comment posted by Deadite Grrl
August 18, 2003 @ 12:26 am
This show was absolutely one of the best things I have seen in years!! Not only was amazingly true to the original movies, it was just some of the most high quality performances that I've seen in Toronto in a long while!
Apparently, when the huge blackout happened, they dragged a bunch of set pieces out front of the theatre and did the show outside with car headlights lighting them! It's just all too amazing.

If people want this to be made available on video (and if you check the message boards around, THEY DO) you should contact the producers and let the demand be known. I think they are several contact e-mails on the show's website
Comment posted by tara
August 24, 2003 @ 2:22 pm
I got to see it on closing night, and it was a blast. Brilliantly done. The songs were great, the characters were captured perfectly, and all us deadites were in stitches. One guy next to me came close to falling off his chair on more than one occasion, and I lost my voice from laughing and shouting. Ryan Ward must have studied Bruce's performance carefully, because he captured him perfectly, and Matt Olmstead as Scott was priceless. The presence of Tom Sullivan, with the Necronomicon, the Candarian dagger, and various body parts from the original film made it a more than perfect evening. If (when) they put it on again, do whatever you can to see it. I know I'll go again.
Comment posted by kev.
August 24, 2003 @ 8:08 pm

I saw the Evil Dead 1 & 2 the Musical finale last night and just wanted to let everyone know that it was so beyond what I was expecting! As soon as the giant Necronomicon opened up above the stage I new that it was going to be a wild ride! As I sit here this evening and type I can't help thinking about the show and laughing ... my stomach still hurts!

The entire cast did a fantastic job, the music was a perfect compliment and the special effects were worthy of any low budget b-movie! I am happy to say that I never once thought 'this show needs more blood'.
Comment posted by Ashman
August 27, 2003 @ 12:47 am
I just read an article on EVIL DEAD 1 & 2 - The Musical in the Globe and Mail. I was offended to see the writer imply that evil dead fans would be theatre illiterate, and that the production of evil dead the musical was anything less than amazing!

Check it out in the reviews section of

I'm going to write in to the globe and let them know what i thought of the show and the article. If you want to join me...

Comment posted by Tara
August 29, 2003 @ 2:55 pm
I read the article as well, and I sent them an email. I also didn't like how they seemed to think that the cast should be replaced and the production values upped if/when they put it on again. The reviewer seemed to be missing the point. He also got the timing of the musical numbers backwards. The show was perfect the way it was, and I hope they don't mess with it.
Comment posted by dan
September 5, 2003 @ 1:14 am
ok this is about 3 weeks after i saw evil dead the musical on closing night, and im still laughing whenever its brought up in conversation. Also i just read the globe article linked to above, and i'd have to say that that is one of the worst compliments he could have posibly thought of while sparsly admitting the genious and draw of the play. Personally i am a young male who enjoys theatre and have also seen most of the major musicals that have past through toronto worth seeing. Evil Dead the musical is definitly something special and true to its namesake, in its energy and griping intimacy.Also i think it would be a crime to re-cast and largly elevate production values for the sake of a broder audience. Thats not the point. It is meant for us deadites. The true fans. And yes authenticity and sincerity are at the heart of what we seek but there has to be some thing unique, on top of everything else that will make us come back time and again. And this has it. I beseech every deadite to find some way to watch this play, if those who own the rights dont let them continue, bootleg it somehow, one person find one tape and pass it on to another eveyone seems surprised at how many deadites there accualy are in this world. speaking of which i think my E.D. hat is somewhere in california ..... meh... gnite, and i wish you all dead before dawn
Comment posted by kristen
October 30, 2003 @ 2:32 pm
damnit damnit i can't believe it's almost over and i just heard about this. what, do i live under a rock?

want see. please to be starting a traveling version of this performance. bring to sf. actually -- i'll road trip for this baby, and bring friends.
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