REVIEW: ‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ is a deliciously corny romp


TORONTO — Take a bunch of hams, throw in a lot of cheese and top it off with several litres of blood — then consume it with a huge grain of salt.

This is the recipe for Evil Dead: The Musical, the deliciously corny romp now on stage at Toronto’s Randolph Theatre.

The campy comedy, based on Sam Raimi’s film trilogy, has come home to the city where it originated a decade ago.

It skewers the horror genre as five college students head to a secluded cabin in the woods and unleash the fury of Candarian demons.

Ryan Ward, who originated the role of Ash, has just the right balance of charm and cheese. He’s in almost every scene and does a bloody good job of delivering one-liners and belting out songs in between killing off his castmates.

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Alison Smyth is a delightful ball of energy as Cheryl, particularly after she’s chained in the cellar and spitting out cringe-worthy puns, and Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll is perfectly smarmy as Scott.

Margaret Thompson and Laura Tremblay are fabulous femmes fatales and Kenton Blythe shines as Ed — especially in his solo number, “Bit Part Demon.”

But no one chews the scenery like Daniel Williston as “good old reliable” Jake. A killer combination of singer, dancer, stuntman and ham, you almost don’t want him to be killed if it means he’ll have less stage time.

What makes Evil Dead: The Musical so much fun are the songs (lyrics by George Reinblatt and music de-composed by Reinblatt with Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris). It was a shame, therefore, that the recorded music drowned out the singers in several numbers on opening night, particularly in the show’s first half.

Speaking of drowning, be warned there is a lot of blood in Evil Dead: The Musical. If you’re a Type-A personality, sit in the “splatter zone,” the plastic covered front rows where audience members are showered in faux blood in the second act.

Torn between no blood and lots of blood? Choose the splatter.

Evil Dead: The Musical is a corny, horny romp that provides an IV-league education in how to make clever satirical entertainment. Go with a date. Go with a group. But get your tickets soon because you won’t want to be caught with your pints down.

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Evil Dead: The Musical runs until Dec. 22.

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