I've just returned from an exciting weekend of Theatre and Film with Brother Chris visiting one of his friends from University, Mr Geraint D'arcy. The reason for this visit, The Evil Dead. Well sort off. Geraint was involved in the combined theatre production of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 by the drama students of University of Glamorgan, and this being my favourite film, was excited to have been invited. You can see the stage design and a couple of other pictures at Geraint's blog here. So anyway, only a day after returning from Brother Chris' I was off on another train journey.
The show, entitled Dead By Dawn to avoid and copyright issues, was preceded by a cautionary notice in the pub before we went across to the theatre. This was not going to be The Evil Dead we all knew and loved, but more like a re-imagining, set in the Welsh Valleys. Hearing this I wasn't quite sure what to expect. So we buy our tickets and wait in line ready to hopefully enjoy Dead By Dawn.
And enjoy I did. Being a part student production not everything was perfect, but then, if you start looking closely, not every part of Evil Dead is perfect. The stage design was simple yet effective, there are only two settings in the film really, inside the cabin and outside the cabin, and the stage and its surroundings were used to great effect. Every major aspect of the films featured in the production, Chainsaw, possessed humans, Henrietta and yes, even the tree rape, handled perfectly as the character is dragged beneath the stage and thrown out the other side, battle damaged. Unfortunately there was no possessed hand ans therefore no arm mounted chainsaw but cuts had to be made somewhere. So excellent stage design, but what about the acting.
The acting was pretty strong across the board. Nothing perfect mind, the fights did seem pretty loose at times, but the characters were believable. Unfortunately the lead playing Ash managed to get the cowardly Evil Dead Ash down, but failed to grasp the coolness of Evil Dead 2 Ash. There were a couple of other problems with certain actors but I rather not start nit picking.
So finally, the effects. No Evil Dead production would be accurate without a shed load of gore, and this production had it. Brains exploded, heads cut off, intestines ripped out. Obviously all done in a stylistic fashion. No one got hurt. One of the highlights was definitely seeing the possessed Henrietta emerge from the cellar, long neck and all. This scene was so manic that it resulted in excited audience applause.
I may have missed stuff out but I can't remember everything. It was a cool show though, a lot better than a couple of professional productions I've attended in the past. It's a pity it only ran for three days, and now it's over with, never to be seen again. I doubt those involved will ever forget it and they all should definitely be proud of what they achieved.