DISCLAIMER TO KEEP PANTIES OUT OF WADS: This is not an official review, nor was it solicited by any news outlet or anyone associated with the production. This is just your everyday blog post containing my thoughts about a show I saw this past weekend. However, I did type out all my thoughts and I'd be happy to share if you'll just email me.
What do you get when you mix all the campy greatness of cheesy slasher flicks with doo-wop music, horrible one-liners, and rocking band of the undead? The answer: Level Ground Arts' recent production of Evil Dead the Musical.
Boy, was I glad when I found out that this production was extended into the first weekend of November! Due to a RIDICULOUS October schedule that I have already mentioned, I was incredibly bummed out to think that I might miss this gory, zombie-riffic production that received rave reviews from Elaine Liner of the Dallas Observer and TheaterJones.com, Mark Lowry of TheatreJones.com and Christopher Soden of the Dallas Examiner. But, thankfully the stars aligned and I was able to catch the penultimate performance!
I had one very good friend in the production, one Stephanie Felton, playing the role of Cheryl. I've known Stephanie for a very long time and I felt like a proud Mama watching her -- or at least a proud aunt or cousin, since her actual Mama was in the audience, bravely seated in the Splatter Zone! She belted her sassy behind off, and I was floored by the way she went balls-to-the-wall in her vocal performance, both in singing and in gravelly zombie-speak! It would be very easy to just throw caution to the wind in a show like this, and the result would be vocal chords shredded to ribbons after a six week run. However, Stephanie once again impressed me with her level of professionalism as a singer and an actress/comedienne!
Several other performers have been my "Facebook friends" for months now, and this show provided an opportunity for me to see them perform and meet them "in real life" for the first time. I was not disappointed on either front. Shane Strawbridge as Jake had us all (especially our friend Justin) in stitches with his hillbilly accent, awkward hip thrusting and, most memorably, a particular string of profanities as he walked offstage that still makes me laugh whenever I think about it. Liz Woodcock as girlfriend Linda was especially funny with her high-pitched giggle and headless antics, and Clayton Younkin made a big impression -- even though his character, Ed, could barely get a word in edgewise, I couldn't help but be drawn to him every time he was onstage.
The "Band of the Dead," lead by M. Shane Hurst, was flawless, if not a bit loud at times. The guitar solo by Alex Atchley towards the end of the second act was actually one of my favorite moments of the entire evening!
So, despite a few minor frustrations and distractions such as the inability to decipher lines/lyrics at times and the fact that, on this particular night, the show was being filmed and one of the videographers and cameramen kept walking in front of our seats and blocking our view, I highly enjoyed this production and I give a standing ovation to Bill Fountain and Level Ground Arts and the immensely talented production team, cast and crew of Evil Dead the Musical. Should this show ever come 'round again, I will be first in line to audition and/or buy tickets!