The music is by Claudio Simonette, the composer of the incidental music for the movie and other Argento films. Here he merely expands on the music from the film. Caped characters in masks do most of the singing, ghouls I guess, surrounded by dancers doing jerky, angular modern dance. I think it was supposed to be scary, but it was not. We didn’t know or care who these folks were. Songs in musicals are supposed to further the action, but here the music seemed arbitrary.
Dario Argento was the artistic supervisor of the show. He believed he could replace the horror of a movie with the only theatrical form that approached terror, Grand Guignol. This was a theatrical tradition from France which died in the 1960s when movies proved to do a better job of providing thrills. Grand Guignol always had excesses of blood (think Sweeney Todd the movie) and some humor as well. I recently saw an attempt to revive the tradition. Nails were pounded into skulls and blood was everywhere. I understand why that form of theater was abandoned: it now looks quaint, and rather campy.
Not so Deep Red The Musical. It takes itself far too seriously, the acting styles are hyper-dramatic, and there is no blood. In the movie we get a decapitation, but the only thing we get in this musical is one of the characters staggering on stage with an obviously fake hatchet in the back, and lots of empty stabbing gestures by those ghouls. A lot of money seems to have been spent for naught. And ultimately it is a lesson on what not to do. Maybe Disney money and special effects might have helped, but the text, the music, the production, are as lame as that hatchet in the back.
For all that, it must be said that the original movie still holds some chills, and its cult status is easily understood. Go rent the movie. At Teatro Smeraldo in Milan through May 19. Tickets available through TicketOne.it or by calling 892,101 in Milan.