The scare season has officially
arrived when Sutter Street Theatre opens its annual staging of Evil
Dead, the Musical. It opened on Saturday the 4th with
all the flash we have come to expect. The house was packed. Some have
stayed away thinking it wouldn’t be the type of show they would enjoy,
but those who have braved the odds have found that they had not realized
how entertaining gore can be.
If you have not seen this show in
any venue, you might take heart from this summary furnished by Chris
Sealy: “Five friends are spending the weekend in a remote cabin in the
woods. While investigating… they discover a tape and a decaying old
book full of strange incantations. The tape is played and it unleashes
a powerful evil force from the forest – that is determined to destroy
every last one of them.”
Elio Gutierrez has directed this
show with, as always, sure-handed skill, attention to detail, and a
terrific imagination. The choreography designed by Jacob Montoya is
perfectly in keeping with the story itself – wild, energetic , and
spooky – and is a major factor in the success of the production. The
music, the music, aaah and aaagh! Cast members need strong voices –
and they have them.
The cast was outstanding and more
than outstanding. Christopher Celestin was always meant to play the
part of Ash. With his seemingly natural zaniness he brings spontaneity,
subtlety (yes, really), and joie de vivre to the role, as well as other
things that there are just no name for. His timing is perfect and his
facial expressions changed every second and no two were alike.
Dennis Curry is deliciously
ferocious as Jake. He is visually and vocally compelling in his role.
The audience is glad when he’s on. Never mind that he’s vicious.
It’s good to see the charming
Cassidy Cagney back on the Sutter Street stage in the role of Cheryl , a
role that is challenging and… charming? Well, yes, if you redefine
“charm.” She was up to the challenge. You have never seen her like
Chelsea Ciechanowski as Shelly gave
new meaning to the word “slutty,” and this reviewer means that in the
very nicest way.
Jen Morrison as Annie depicted
another dichotomy. She was innocently seductive and more fun than… fill
in the blanks.
Rounding out the cast (and really,
they all deserve special mention) are J.T. Bernhardt as the Professor
and Ed, Javier Salcedo as Scott, Dylan Thuss-Shelly as Moose, Evil Tree,
and Deadite, and Helen Ventura as Linda.
The show features murderous trees, a
talking – and singing – moose head, and a severed hand that does naughty
things all by itself. As if that weren’t enough, audience members who
are close to the stage get splattered with blood.
Who could resist?
Truly there is no way to adequately
describe this show. You have to come and see it, and you will be glad