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‘Gimme some sugar, baby!’ Theatre Alliance puts on horror parody

by Lenise Willis

Andrew Lopina, left, as “Ash” and Heather Hamby as “Annie” in Theatre Alliance’s Evil Dead, the Musical. (Photo by John C. Wilson).

If you’re familiar with the Evil Dead films, then you read that headline with the smooth and cocky voice of Ash (Bruce Campbell) in your head. If you’re not familiar with the films, then you’re in for a frightening and magnificent mix of music, comedy and devilishly cunning spirits in Theatre Alliance’s performance of Evil Dead, the Musical.

“I have tried to get rights to Evil Dead for three years,” said artistic director Jamie Lawson. “This show is perfect, campy, bloody fun for Halloween. For a holiday that’s mostly for kids, this show is a seasonal treat for adults.”

Based on Sam Raimi’s ’80s cult classic films, the musical follows a young man, who is of course expecting to get laid, and his four college friends who take a weekend getaway at an abandoned cabin and end up unleashing an ancient evil spirit.

It’s left up to Ash (Andrew Lopina) to save his girlfriend and himself, even if it means cutting off his possessed arm and replacing it with a chainsaw—you know, because who wouldn’t want to have a chainsaw on-hand while battling demonic creatures? Ash must fight until dawn to survive as each of his friends is turned into a “Candarian Demon.”

Both the films and the musical are parodies of horror flicks, filled with slap-stick humor and cheap, but good, laughs. The musical includes such campy numbers as “All the Men in my Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons,” “Look Who’s Evil Now” and “Do the Necronomicon.”

“When I was a teenager, I loved the movie,” Lawson said. “I grew up in Madison, in the woods, at the end of a long, dirt road. So, if you’ve seen the movie, you can imagine that it was easy to relate to Bruce Campbell’s experience of isolation.

“The play is wide-open, from beginning to end,” Lawson continued.

“There’s never a dull moment. By today’s cinematic standards, the movie comes across as campy, so the creators of the musical cashed in on the cult status of the movie and went in a humorous direction with the show. It is an absolute scream, if you like (the movie) Airplane!-style farcical humor.”

Lawson said the audience can expect R-rated humor (for pervasive, crude language and comic violence), and may encounter some “zombiesplatter spilling over from onstage.” Parts of the set will even “come alive” as objects are possessed.

“This cast is a great group of fun people, and they really wear their peeling skin well,” Lawson laughed. “They don’t even complain about all of the sticky blood they are covered in by the end of the show. They are real troopers.”

After the show, Theatre Alliance is offering $3 digital photos with the cast, which will be emailed to the audience member. “It’s just good fun as Halloween fast approaches,” Lawson said.

On Saturday, the audience can interact even more with the cast when the actors stage a “zombie takeover” at Bob’s Big Gas Subs and Pub from 10 p.m. to midnight. There’ll be door prizes, drink specials and photos with the cast. There’ll also be a makeup artist in case any visitors want to join in on the zombie fun.

“We have an 8 p.m. show and a midnight show on Saturday, so we thought this was a fun way to link the two performances,” Lawson said. “The idea came from Heather Hamby, who plays Annie in Evil Dead. We are always seeking events that we can do in conjunction with Bob’s Big Gas Subs and Pub, as they are our neighbors, so this was a great match.”

Lawson said the event allows both the audience leaving the 8 p.m. show, at about 10 p.m., and the audience coming to the midnight show to meet the cast, have fun and “join the ranks of ‘zombie-dom.’”

If you’re interested in transforming into a zombie for Halloween, visit www.wstheatrealliance.org for a video tutorial on zombie makeup.

wanna go?

Evil Dead, the Musical Theatre Alliance, 1047 W. Northwest Blvd., Winston-Salem 336.723.7777 www.wstheatrealliance.org

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