‘Evil Dead’ opens with sold out performance

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Egads! Theatre Company returned to production mode with a signature campy musical, “Evil Dead,” playing inside Kansas City’s historic Union Station on the City Stage, Oct. 13.

The low budget movie of the same name became a popular live action camp classic with the addition of original music and fun choreography. “Evil Dead” reminds of “The Rocky Horror Show,” being in the same genre. Opening night saw a younger crowd filled with enthusiasm with many anticipating the zany lines and fun-spirited lampoon of horror flicks.

Egads! well known locally as the producer of high quality, but campy shows delivers again, after a hiatus of at least a year. The time off did not diminish their following nor the quality of their shows.

The cast led by KC favorite Samn Wright carries the show as the lead character of Ash. Wright, no stranger to Egads! with two previous runs in the show. Wright also performed in “Godspell” and “The Rocky Horror Show” for the production company. He knows his character, knows where the emphasis goes, and plays to the audience throughout. He’s great as Ash. Unable to perform in all of the performances, he shares the part with another KC favorite, Jeff Smith who will step in for two shows.

“Evil Dead” centers on five college students, extremely dumb, oversexed, and hopeful for a sextravaganza in a deserted cabin in the woods (with only one way in or out of the surrounding woods). What they do not know is that the woods are both enchanted and deadly. Within the cabin, evil resides, awaiting new trespassers to stumble in. One by one, all become possessed with evil. One by one, they suffer, bleed, and die. And, oh the blood!

Expect lots of blood, and expect to be in the “splash zone” if seated in the first two rows of the auditorium. Blood, guts, amputations–all play out this musical. “Evil Dead” also brings an animated, severed hand in the mix. (Could this be Thing from The Addams Family?) A mounted moose head might even be the remains of Bullwinkle–you just never know!

“Evil Dead” brings the Halloween fun and games to the forefront. The language is strong, so it is not the best choice for youngsters. The blood and guts are fun, but messy. Overall, a fun evening for audiences as it continues to become a cult classic. “Evil Dead” offers a fun alternative to “Rocky Horror.”

The rest of the cast cements the show together with crazy, stereotyped horror characters. The ensemble cast includes: Samn Wright, Chelsea Anglemeyer, Zach Faust, Taylor Jennings, Ethan Miller, Korrie Murphy, Brooke Myers, and Zachary York. Jeff Smith stars in two performances instead of Samn Wright. The cast all give strong performances as the daft teens. They are all very good and fun. Of the ensemble, Ethan Miller stands out with his delivery and dancing. He’s very good and demands the audience’s attention.

Also, notice the behind the scenes work of the creative team led by Director, Steven Eubank. Kevin Bogan serves as musical director; Derek Ferguson as choreographer; Ashley Otis, assistant choreographer; Ashley Pike as stage manager, and David Kiehl as original sound designer. The atmosphere they created begins when patrons step inside the City Stage lobby with fog and eerie lighting. The atmosphere continues once inside the auditorium and at show time. The sound, lighting, and music continue the atmosphere and contribute to the overall appeal of the show.

“Evil Dead” continues on City Stage inside historic Union Station through Oct. 31. Ticket demand is high. For tickets, times, dates, check out the Egads! website.

ed-dragashRoy Inman



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