I’ve always said plays could use litres of blood sprayed in everyone’s face. Waiting for Godot would be soooo much better. Until I finish a draft of that, I recommend Evil Dead the Musical, returning to Calgary after a blockbuster run back in 2009. Hit and Myth is re-stageing the bloody musical with an entirely new cast at the Pumphouse Theatre. For the uninitiated, the show is based on the cult Evil Dead movie franchise. The series of horror/comedies launched the directing career of Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Oz the Great and Powerful) and the chin of perennial B-movie actor Bruce Campbell. The movies tell the story of a simple S-Mart employee Ash (Campbell) as he repeatedly tries to enjoy a weekend at a cabin in the woods. Until someone reads from the Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon, and unleashing an ancient evil.
The musical, which made its debut in Toronto back in 2003, has gone on to play all over the world. This is the second time for the groovy musical in Calgary after a sold out run in 2009. This run stars Bart Kwiatkowski as the manly, one-liner machine Ashley “Ash” Williams. As a fan of the movies he told me it was a dream to be playing the chainsaw wielding hero, “I never thought I’d get the chance to be in this, let alone be Ash. I get to pay homage to this character that I love and everyone who comes to see the show, some three, four times. I want to do this forever.”
The sixth grade teacher won’t be leading a field trip to see the adult themed show but he does hope everyone will check it out. “I consider this a gateway show. If you see this you’re going to love it. Hopefully this will get people to come out and see more shows and plays.” says the actor. Besides getting to look awesome and say things like “Give me some sugar, baby” I asked Bart what the advantages to having a chainsaw for a hand are, ” It leaves your other hand free for the shotgun, my 12 gauge, double barrel Remington.”
Besides the amazing music and make-up, a major draw for the more adventurous theatre goer is the ‘Splatterzone’. The first two rows of the Pumphouse have been wrapped in plastic to protect the old venue from a literal bloodbath. Each death on stage is met with a spray of blood. It is not uncommon to see these rows filled with excited nerds wearing goggles and the whitest of white clothes to absorb the mayhem. I still have my blood soaked eye protection from ’09 and I cannot recommend them enough. I dare you to tell me you’re not going to enjoy any play that requires a trip to Home Depot first.
Evil Dead the Musical runs Tuesday – Sunday evenings until September 8th at the Pumphouse Theatre. Tickets are available at hitandmyth.com.