The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Evil Dead, the Musical
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show October 4 - November 2, 2014
Reviewer Georgi Desmond

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 this.

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 you did.

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