Five college students break into a cabin in the woods for a weekend of debauchery. What could possibly go wrong?
Anyone who’s ever seen a horror film in the past 30 years knows that zombies, demons, chainsaws and buckets of blood are waiting for them in the dark. Things only go from bad to worse after they discover a 13th century book of the dead.
There’s all of that, along with songs and laughter, in Some Theatre Company’s production of “Evil Dead: The Musical,” being performed through Sunday at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono. The show is great fun, even for theatergoers who aren’t fans of the horror genre. Those who are will relish every wink and nod to the classic and the obscure splatter films of the last 40 or so years.
Based on George Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” movies, the musical was first performed in 2003 in Toronto. George Reinblatt wrote the book and the lyrics. He and Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla and Melissa Morris wrote the music. Some Theatre Company first performed the show four years ago.
Quirky musicals, along with classics such as “Rent” and “Sweeney Todd,” are what the Orono-based company is known for. The company also has upgraded dramatically the technical capacity of the community center’s theater space.
As a director, one of Elaine Bard’s greatest gifts is her ability to build a tight ensemble cast. She succeeds again in this latest show and keeps the action moving at the frenzied pace expected from a horror film.
Logan Bard and Paul Allen reprise their roles as Ash and Scott, respectively, from the 2015 production. They lead a cast of energetic young performers who wring every campy moment out of the script. Logan Bard’s raised eyebrow and Allen’s double takes never grow old.
As the women in the cast, Christy Bruton (Cheryl), Dannin Scher (Linda), Corissa Bither (Shelly) and Stacy Laflin (Annie), perfectly portray the stereotypical horror film girls. All swoon, cry, scream, die and come back to life with their tongues firmly in their cheeks and help capture the silly spirit of the show.
Shayne Bither, who gave a captivating performance two years ago in “The Boys Next Door,” looks and acts like he stepped out of an Indiana Jones movie as Professor Knowby in “Evil Dead: The Musical.” His interactions with the audience are spontaneous and his spoof of the archeologist who unleashes evil forces is spot on.
“Evil Dead: The Musical” is designed to be an immersive experience. People sitting in the first three rows, aka the splatter zone, leave the theater soaked in stage blood that rains down and is spewed over them by member of the cast. Theatergoers may request to sit further back to avoid being hit.
Some Theatre Company has proven that it can illuminate, as it did with “Next to Normal,” and entertain, as it does in “Evil Dead: The Musical,” its audiences. Everything from the set to the lights to the costumes to the performances combine to make this the company’s latest production a delightful diversion from the encroaching cold and dark of winter.
Some Theatre Company’s production of “Evil Dead: The Musical” runs through Sunday at the Keith Anderson Community Center, 19 Bennoch Road, Orono. For more information, call 356-6501 or visit the company’s Facebook page.