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Audience howling at 'Evil Dead: The Musical'

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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From the start, Sutter Street Theatre's production of "Evil Dead: The Musical" pokes fun at itself, the audience and the horror genre. The premise? A group of fun-loving young people head off into the woods for spring break to an old abandoned cabin. Since they aren't officially "renting" the cabin (instead opting to break in and crash there for a week), no one knows there whereabouts. What could possibly go wrong? You have the usual cast of stereotyped characters from good looking Ash (Elio Gutierrez) and his fetching girlfriend Linda (Katherine Folsom) to promiscuous playmate Shelly (Amanda Yount) and her recent hookup Scott (Brent Dirksen). Rounding out the fun-seeking group is Ash's little sis, Cheryl (Christine Alvarez). The cabin is owned by a researcher studying the "Book of the Dead" who has accidentally unleashed Candarian demons into the surrounding woods. Again, what could possibly go wrong? According to theater artistic director Mike Jimena, the musical saw packed houses for most of the performances and Sunday's show was no different. There is plenty of blood, gore and skimpy outfits to satisfy those seeking some fun on Halloween. Gutierrez was in top over-the-top form, as was the rest of the cast. To do a tongue-in-undead-cheek show like this one, they'd have to be. Michael Coleman served as director on this gore-fest while Connie Mockenhaupt served as musical director. This is an entire cast of standouts, in my opinion, but if I had to choose some favorites they would have to be Katherine Folsom as Linda. When she takes a turn for the worse, hilarity ensues. Her demon-y facial expressions (especially when she was reduced to just a head) were fantastic. She had the crowd howling with laughter, especially when the blood started spraying. Yount, as the ditzy bimbo, was also a show-stealer. It's not easy playing someone that dumb and when she takes her turn on the dark side, she really sinks her teeth into the meaty role. Dennis Curry plays Jake, the man who guides Ed (Aaron Boyer) and Annie (Jessica Larrick) to the cabin. The man's got some pipes and he put them to use on a number of songs. One of the more challenging roles was that of Cheryl (Christine Alvarez). She was featured throughout the show and not only had more than a few songs, but she also had to interact with the rest of crew periodically as she popped up from the basement. This production features solid acting, a solid set, plenty of laughs and great tunes. I highly recommend seeing this one. I give fair warning as this show is not for kids. There is swearing, blood and implied sex. There is also a blood "splatter" zone in the first two rows but I sat in the third row and still came out with blood on my clothing (it washes out). * * * KNOW AND GO "Evil Dead: The Musical" When: 8 p.m., 11:45 p.m., Oct. 31 Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Cost: $23 for adults, $21 for seniors and SARTA members, $18 for students, $15 for children 12 and under Information: Sutterstreettheatre.com, (916) 353-1001 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars