By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
October 14-15, 2016
Alberta Rose Theatre
October 28-29, 2016
Revue Stage at Granville Island
November 4-5, 2016
Metro Studio Theatre
Tickets can be bought online here
If you have not made any plans for Halloween yet, Last Chance Productions is taking Evil Dead: The Musical across the Pacific Northwest before, during and after Halloween 2016! This year, they are adding Victoria, BC to the list of where to hit and the timing could not be any better. Since I have seen three versions by different troupes, I must say this particular group are dedicated film buffs who have an absolute love for the cinematic genre.
And, of course, they promise to lay the blood thick in the splatter zone! When I saw the Arts West production, I did not realize you have to sit very close to the kitchen set to get sloshed the most. Depending on whether the show can be held outdoors or indoors, hidden sprinklers can be used to really get people soaked! Tip: wear a white shirt if you intend to be hit with the stage effects. Afterwards, those leaving the theatre can proudly show off their badge of honour with wicked glee.
This company also performed Toxic Avenger! The Musical, Young Frankenstein and Cannibal! The Musical. These shows are certainly worth the trip to the mainland for. If the demand is there, perhaps they will consider bringing these other productions to the Garden City.
Chance Newman leads this group, and with his prior experience in putting on theatrical-style Haunted House attractions during the Halloween season, he finds the stage shows are no different in what he has done before. Instead of a set where audiences navigate room to room, he gets the cast to move with them too. With his background in helping his mother out in her musical productions back home in Oklahoma, moving onwards and upwards to produce live performances of his own creation comes easy.
Depending on the show, the pace can get manic. Anyone who has seen the Evil Dead films will know how crazy it gets. “In my opinion, that’s where the fun is,” said Newman. “There’s a lot to take in because it’s moving so quickly. It’s melodramatic. The interaction of the characters [in our version of Young Frankenstein] as they switch between various costume is a special effect in itself.”
But for what’s coming in this upcoming show, it’s going to be different. Newman revealed “We evolve the show every time. It’s never been done the same way year after year. When we see something that’s not working, we throw in something else.”
In the version I saw years ago, the act began with Dr. Frank N’ Furter from Rocky Horror Show as the opening act; but before he intones enough verses from “Sweet Transvestite,” Ash appears on stage to shoot him. Is this a spoiler? Perhaps, but I will not know what Newman decided to change. Unless I’m mixing up my years, the Fede Alvarez remake can be considered fair game for new material and there’s now Ash vs the Evil Dead on Starz Network — perhaps we might see a gender change or even some swapping of the roles. After my first exposure to this production, I immediately sought out the CD soundtrack so I can put “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons” on my iPod.
But you can not change the premise too much. Chris Bond (the lead writer of the original production) said, “Evil Dead the Musical is presented by amateurs and professionals alike, so the shows will vary, a lot.”