Just in time for Halloween, Beavercreek Community Theatre’s alternative Edge of the Creek Productions seeks to entertain rather than amaze with its local premiere of the mediocre “Evil Dead: The Musical,” a bloody, naughty, pop culture-friendly spoof based on Sam Raimi’s cult film classics.
Featuring book and lyrics by George Reinblatt and music by Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris and Reinblatt, “Evil Dead” concerns a spring break getaway gone awry in an abandoned cabin in the woods. Hook-ups, dismemberment, killer trees and Candarian demons factor into the mayhem, but the incredibly silly, envelope-pushing material, hindered by a forgettable score chock full of hokey lyrics and melodies, just isn’t clever or hysterical enough to remain totally engaging. The one-liners are seriously hit and miss, and a lack of heart is particularly problematic. It’s entirely possible for an oddball, risqué show like “Evil Dead” to succeed on broad camp appeal and profane thrills, but an audience must ultimately care about the characters. Reinblatt and Co. should have found a way to humanize the humor and transform the story into a simultaneously outlandish and emotional product akin to “Bat Boy: The Musical,” a wonderful example of BCT’s Edge of the Creek programming in 2006.
Thankfully, director/scenic designer/costumer/co-properties master Chris Harmon, enjoyably aided by choreographer Annette Looper, keeps the thin action brisk and lively with a sufficient amount of sight gags to keep you awake. Harmon’s appropriately over-the-top ensemble particularly grasps the material’s tongue-in-cheek intentions with great skill. The versatile Jonathan Berry delivers another full-fledged performance as Ash, a heroic housewares employee. Berry is romantically linked with the lovely Bethany Locklear, who makes the most of the underwritten Linda. Darren Brown and Lindsay Sherman are equally compatible as Scott and Shelly. The infectiously goofy Angelé Price is a joy as Cheryl, Ash’s sister. As the rustic Jake, Michael Shannon humorously embodies the backwoods stereotype. The reliably comical Dean Swann tackles an assortment of featured roles including a talking moose. Lynn Kesson, sharp and precise, relishes her role as the overbearing Annie, who notably proclaims “All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons.”
If that song title made you giggle, “Evil Dead” might be your cup of tea.
Evil Dead: The Musical continues through Oct. 30 at the Lofino Center, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd., Beavercreek. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Act One: 52 minutes; Act Two: 40 minutes. The production contains adult language and themes. Tickets are $11-$13. For tickets or more information, call (937) 429-4737 or visit www.bctheatre.org