With the XBox 360 on the mend, I’ve been relatively gameless. Although it isn’t my only game device, it was my primary game device and without it I’m no more compelled to enter that secondary gaming world as I was when it was working. My Playstation 2 hasn’t been plugged in since I moved. The DS, home to games I’ve been meaning to play, hasn’t captivated me. The PSP is nothing but a portable Lumines device that comes out about once or twice a week when I’m on the train, and that’s only when the battery isn’t dead: which is every other weekend. And the PC? Winamp and SLSK and Firefox.
The benefit of this malaise is that I’ve been compensating with the other media forms, buying more books and music and movies than normal. It helps that there have been a number of really good releases lately like, last week, the Criterion re-release of The Third Man. I even went out to see a stage show. A nice local production. Legitimate theatre.
“Legitimate” in the Simpsons Planet of the Apes kind of manner. Though Evil Dead: The Musical is not entirely as spoofy and goofy as seeing Troy McClure sing “I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-A to chimpanzez”, it is equally awesome and catchy. Especially with songs like What the fuck was that?
A cult 80s independent horror film with Bruce Campbell turned into a musical? There’s ample potential for failure with that formula, but somehow the cast and crew have pulled it off quite magnificently. Evil Dead: The Musical is as awesome as it sounds, full of humour, catchy songs and gore. Lots of gore for a stage show, actually. So much so that the first two rows are considered the “splatter zone.” Though it does introduce a few new characters to keep things moving along, the adaptation is mostly faithful to the movie with most of the action taking place in a somewhat elaborate cabin set, full of clattering plates and talking moose heads and severed limbs.
Some of the song and dance numbers dragged on a tad too long, much like in Thriller, but they never crossed that enough already I get it line. A lot of it really has to do with Ryan Ward, who plays the lead role of “Ash” and makes it entirely his own. He’s not trying to mimic Bruce Campbell, but he definitely pays homage to his legacy. Many of his classic one-liners are repeated, to rowdy fan approval, but everything else feels like it belongs to Ryan Ward. He pulls it off and carries the whole bloody show with him, boomstick, chainsaw and all.