November 2009

Monthly Archive

Gimme some splatter, baby…

Posted by Office-Bob on 18 Nov 2009 | Tagged as: General Craziness, FX

Vancouver recently hosted two different productions of EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL – one local, one “touring” - and since I’m a big fan of the movies I felt it was my solemn duty to see both versions and try to determine which one was better. Here are my thoughts on the matter…

ACTING: Both shows were good; the local production had slightly more of a “community theatre” feel to it but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some characters were better in one show than in the other – for example, I liked the local Ash’s characterization more than the touring Ash. The touring Ash also suffered from looking somewhat like a comedian by the name of Ryan Stiles, and while I know it’s not the actor’s fault I couldn’t help but be put off a bit by the mental image of Drew Carey’s sidekick fighting off demons with a shotgun and chainsaw. The touring Shelley, on the other hand, was definitely the better ditz.

A special round of applause goes to the touring show’s stage ninjas – I know they’re not technically actors but some of the things they did, especially with the bunny, merit recognition.

SINGING: I thought the local production had a slight edge here, and while there was a problem with the sound cutting out during the last song of the first act the actors projected as much as they could to make up for the lack of amplification.

DANCING: I thought the Vancouver actors were better but is that due to their talent, that of the choreographer, or both?

SET DESIGN: The touring production definitely won here, but I do want to compliment the local show on assembling a set that had to take into account the fact that the Norman Rothstein Theatre doesn’t have a trapdoor in their stage floor; this meant the set had to be built with a raised floor which affected the sightlines, but it was functional and effective.

EFFECTS: Again, the touring company takes this category. The local crew did the best they could but you have to admit that when you don’t have the ability to install a plumbing system that allows you to dump liters of blood on your “splatter zone” audience members, you’re at a definite disadvantage. Here are a couple of blurry cellphone pictures showing the pipes that were suspended over the audience:





Speaking of blood, here are some pictures to give you an idea of how much blood I was hit with. First, the Vancouver show – I was in the front row, slightly off from dead centre:



Next, here’s a picture of how I looked after the touring production – 3rd row back, 3rd seat from the end, stage right:



The only way it would have been better is if the touring show was able to warm up the blood before dumping it on us…that stuff was COLD.

The touring show did go overboard with the smoke machines at times, especially during the “Do the Necronomicon” number towards the end when the smoke was so thick the actors were almost completely hidden.

If I was going to award points in a head-to-head contest I would say that the touring production won by a decent margin, but I have to give the Vancouver show extra points for putting on their show even after finding out that the touring show would be here at the same time – when they started mounting their production they were told there wouldn’t be any competition.

I think the ultimate winners were people like me who went to the trouble of seeing (and enjoying) both shows because the overall experience was…

(I have to say it)

Groovy.

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