I’d heard rumors regarding “Madam Payoh and Uncle Willie’s Serial Killer Seance Show,” the “world’s second greatest road show,” and decided to see for myself. This psychic dynamic duo are currently holding court at The Akron Center for Art, Music, & Performance (The Center) located at 118 West Market St. right here in Akron.When one enters The Center, it’s appropriately done up for the season: candlelight, ominous music– the works. This includes a large skull of which Madame Payoh seems quite fond. And speaking of our hosts, you’d almost think they were entirely different people sometimes. In fact, I’d swear Madame Payoh’s voice totally changed at least once during the course of the evening.
After being seated, one is offered a variety of “essential elixirs.” I don’t want to spoil the fun, but the table was visited by certain… people… from throughout history. It was truly a unique experience. Make sure to stock up on the Ulterior Votives (patent pending).
Now let’s pull back the curtain a bit. “Madam Payoh and Uncle Willie’s Serial Killer Seance Show” is the latest production from local theatre company Wandering Aesthetics. This show is a continuation of their long-running tradition of doing something spookily appropriate in October. The seed of the idea was planted when Director Benjamin Rexroad learned of the story of the infamous Axeman of New Orleans while doing research for another project.
At each performance, Uncle Willie is played (alternatively) by Matt Dodds or Wandering Aesthetics’ own Kyle Jozsa. Likewise the role of Madame Payoh switches between Nici Romo and Mercedes Littell. This changes the dynamic of the show depending on the combination of the actors at that particular performance. Adding to the unique nature of each evening’s show is the aspect of audience participation. Rexroad explained that he was inspired to stage the show in this way after reading about the earliest days of theatre, when the audience was expected to cheer, yell, and give feedback to the performers. Breaking the fourth wall, according to Rexroad, can make the show more accessible to the audience.
However, forget about breaking the fourth wall; “Madam Payoh and Uncle Willie’s Serial Killer Seance Show” gets rid of it entirely. The audience is brought onto the stage to sit at the table for each seance, making them part of the performance.
Like any show with audience participation, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. Madame Payoh and Uncle Willie (regardless of whose face they may be wearing) are expert guides. Attend with, as the good Madame Payoh might say, an open mind (and open wallet) and enjoy an evening in the company of some of history’s most infamous serial killers, brought to life by a troupe of skilled actors.
And if you get too scared, just tell yourself it’s a only a show… OR IS IT?
“Madam Payoh and Uncle Willie’s Serial Killer Seance Show” runs from now until October 31st at The Center. Tickets are $20 per person or $30 for two and are available at https://www.watheatre.com/boxoffice.
Stop by a little early for a tarot card reading before the show!
SHOW DATES & TIMES
Tuesday, October 30th @ 8 PM
Wednesday, October 31st @ 7 PM (SOLD OUT!)
Wednesday, October 31st @ 9:30 PM