It’s Halloween week and the city of Toronto is in full on scare-mode with zombie walks, Halloween haunts, and candy-hungry mini humans scouring the streets for their next sugar hit. And so tickets to go and check out the opening night of Evil Dead: The Musical could not have come at a more appropriate time as my male counterpart and I bundled up to head to the Randolph Theatre to claim our seats. On purchasing beer and festive tees, we settled in to church row seating to experience the show in all its glorious goriness, campy cheesiness and hokey hilarity.
The show is based on the cult film trilogy from writer and director Sam Raimi, and tells the age-old story of a group of college students who head into the woods for a weekend full of debauchery… but of course get much more than they bargained for when they meet the ancient fury of Candarian demons. Cue a barrage of puns, blood, delightfully tacky one-liners and lots more blood.
The cast is headed up by Ryan Ward who originated the role of our handsome hero, Ash. Mixing his obvious charm with oodles of cheesy comedy it was clear that this role has been his from the beginning as he belted out sinister tunes whilst wielding a chainsaw like it was a flimsy stage prop… oh wait, it was. But he sold it well as he continued on his mission to kill all of his demonized friends while of course making sure to shed as much fake blood as possible.
Ward was joined by an excellent cast including Daniel Williston as ‘Good Old Reliable Jake’. Williston provided tons of laughs with his unique talents as he pirouetted his way through each scene in a way only a lumberjack could!
Alison Smyth bounces off the stage walls as Ash’s prudish little sister Cheryl who transforms into a foul-mouthed, pun-loving demon, while Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll nails the roll of hormone heavy best friend, Scott.
Kenton Blythe plays a perfectly beaten down Ed who temporarily steals the spotlight for his hammed up solo, “Bit Part Demon,” while talented actresses Laura Tremblay and Margaret Thompson provide the perfect amount of sexual energy and zombie girl power.
Now when they say there’s blood, you’d better believe it’s true. And if you’re totally down for the gory story in all its glory then you should reserve yourself seats in the Splatter Zone where you are guaranteed to get drenched in the red stuff. I was far enough away to come home clean but I did witness the Splatter Zone carnage and if you sign up for it, you’d be well advised to not wear your favourite cashmere sweater.
Evil Dead: The Musical is now playing at The Randolph Theatre at 736 Bathurst Street, just south of Bloor, through December 22nd. Check out the website for more info.