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Demon musical brings the damned to life in Columbus

Courtesy of CATCO

Halloween season has begun and CATCO has kicked its celebration into high gear with the gratuitous amount of blood, guts and gore found in “Evil Dead The Musical.”

The musical will be at the Vern Riffe Center for the month of October and will be performed in a black-box thrust theater, which is a small space with a stage surrounded by audiences on three sides. The fourth side serves as the background. This type of performance space allows the actors to connect with their audience and involve them in the production.

Integrating audience involvement on opening night is what director Steven Anderson hopes will gain their attention. He hopes to get a few screams, and maybe even laugh for the next 30 days.

“I’ll stand in the theater on opening night,” Anderson said. “I’ll gauge the audience’s response and see what effects need to be enhanced or altered. The use of ‘blood’ is a great way for the actors to connect to the audience.”

Anderson set the mood and welcomed the audience by offering a poncho to those members who didn’t want to be splattered with a blood-like substance used to spray the audience for effect. From that moment on, the audience was laughing, screaming and the actors on stage were committed to the story.

The musical is based off the “Evil Dead” movies that follow five college students — Ash, Linda, Scott, Shelly, and Cheryl — spending their spring break in a cottage hidden in the woods. As they enter the deserted cabin, they hear strange voices and discover the Book of the Dead. When they examine the book, the spirits, Candarian Demons, are released and trap them in the cabin.

Jeff Horst, who plays the role of Scott and is an Ohio State alumnus, says the show has evolved into its own demon throughout the journey.

“The show is a fresh sense of fun, (Contemporary American Theatre Company’s) take on ‘Rocky Horror,'” Horst said. “We have managed to keep the blood and horror while adding singing and dancing. A fresh sense of fun and a guaranteed good time.”

The show has nearly 20 musical numbers that audience members say add to the show’s appeal.

“‘Evil Dead’ is very campy and gets you in the mood for Halloween,” said Chelsea Hartz, audience member and OSU alumna.

Adam Kaiser, an OSU mechanical engineering graduate, said the show puts him in the mood for Halloween and all of the festivities.

“I saw the tickets on www.groupon.com and thought that it would be fun,” Kaiser said. “In the films, the story begins on Oct. 1. Seeing the show on that exact day is really cool for Halloween.”

However, Anderson warns that since the show includes strong graphic images and explicit language and connotations, audience members should be cautious.

Younger children might want to stay home and eat some Halloween candy instead.

“It’s more of a warning about the show since it does focus around horror,” Anderson said. “It has strong language and graphic elements. College students, mature audiences will appreciate the show.”

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