“Evil Dead: The Musical” – Nearly Naked Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ June 14, 2010


Nearly Naked Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Killings, wild mayhem, and dead people who become evil zombies are the madcap ingredients that turn the zany “Evil Dead: The Musical” into a wonderfully fun show.

It’s based on the cult movie classics, a weird source for a show that took off back in 2003. In Damon Dering’s capable directorial hands, his Nearly Naked Theatre Company’s superlative Arizona premiere production is blessed with a great cast and cleverly wacky stage chicanery. The hilarious staging turns the spooky evils joyful as this sharply written show mocks an old legend that haunts a rural cabin where friends come for what they think will be an escape from school and working at S-Mart. Raunchy dialogue filled with zingy one-liners and uproarious madcap stupidity.

Ash brings Linda, his girl friend and fellow S-Mart worker; Cheryl, his studious sister; and his best friend, the foul-mouthed, oversexed bigot, Scott, and his dim-witted girl, Shelly where the guys plan to drink and have illicit sex while the girls are eager to please. Since the isolated cabin is plagued by the ancient Book of the Dead, each character becomes evil.

Although Ash is overtaken and loses a hand, he prevails until Annie shows up to translate the book’s spell and dispel the evil. Getting to the end becomes a madcap ride with talking trees and babbling stuffed animals, while a constant blood flow that spatters the first two rows of the audience. It’s all wildly fun malarkey aided by a pulsating rock score.

Derings’ masterful staging takes advantage of every silly nuance to turn it into a laugh riot. His wild staging is enhanced by Nicole Olson’s feral, beat-driven choreography. Mark 4Man’s superb quintet raucously plays the score. The marvelous set becomes a character as it does amazing things that magnify the nonsense. Colorful lighting and amazingly durable costumes are pluses. Although the cast wear body microphones, sound balance problems opening night made some song lyrics incomprehensible and missing any word means lost laughs.

As Ash, Toby Yatso’s soaring singing and madly amusing acting proves he has the perfect way with bizarre comedy shenanigans. Aimee Lucus’s Cheryl transforms Ash’s dull sister to a ravingly evil maniac. Lynzee Paul-Foreman’s subdued Linda, Ash’s girl friend, gets crazy with weirdness after becoming evil. Chris Matesevac is over-the-top as sex starved Scott who drags out a gruesome transformation in a disgusting display. Alexandra Ncube’s flawless as Shelly, Scott’s slow but voluptuous girl. Adam Vargus stomps about madly as Jake who gets roped into the evilness.

“Evil Dead: The Musical” is zany, wild mayhem that makes great entertainment. It continues through July 3. For tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151.

Grade: A


One Response to ““Evil Dead: The Musical” – Nearly Naked Theatre”

  1. Ralph said:

    Jun 16, 10 at 03:23

    It was a fun evening to be sure. I have to give a hand to Jay Templeton’s prop design. In this show some of the props where verging on members of the cast. Frankly I was wanting the mouse head to take a bow at the end.