evil dead 1&2: the musical by Christopher Bond, adapted from the films by Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel. Presented by Beyond Chutleigh at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick). Runs to November 1, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, late shows Saturday and October 31 at 11 pm. $20. 416-723-3845. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
If a show tries to be bad, does that make it better than it really is? The performers and creators of Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical have their tongues lodged so deep in their cheeks they're practically bursting through their faces - one of the few gruesome images not conjured up in this silly musical gorefest about teens, a secluded cabin and Candarian demons.
But as any true horror fan will tell you, terror and laughs need to be carefully mixed. The addition of music makes things more problematic. Do you go camp all the way?
That's the route director Christopher Bond and writer George Reinblatt have gone in their adaptation of the 1980s cult Sam Raimi /Scott Spiegel films. But what happens when the songs, like many in the show, aren't very good? Or the singers can't sing? Is that funny, or just unprofessional?
To be fair, there are lots of genuine laughs in this show, including an extended Act One closer that resembles a Muppets episode on acid. And the low-tech special effects can be startling.
But essentially the show feels like a competent university revue that's trying too hard to be funny - and derivative. (One song feels clearly modelled after Rocky Horror's Time Warp.)
The director and actors should trust their audience and realize that sometimes it's best when you play the material - however dumb - straight.