by Adrienne Proctor
Just in time for Spooky Season, 3rd Act Theatre Company presents the world premiere play Eat, Slay, Leave. Written by Heather Meyer and directed by Amandanell Bold, Eat Slay Leave is a witty, satirical take on Self-Care culture. Jessica is getting ready to sell her family cabin, but before she does, she invites her two best friends for one last girls’ weekend in the woods. What could go wrong? Certainly not an accidental demon conjuring!
Amy brings some candles and body splash, and the three friends sit down to cast out their old selves. One is going through a messy breakup, another is caught in a spiral of stress-induced control freak-ism, and Amy just needs to grow up a bit. So, they cast out those parts of themselves they don’t want to deal with anymore. Then they settle into the relaxing weekend by sharing some wine and cake. When the windows start to rattle and the woods outside start an otherworldly creak and moan, it becomes obvious that the three friends haven’t so much “cast out” as “conjured up”. The Inverses are those animalistic parts of the women that they’ve ritualistically cast away, and they’re out for blood.
Kate Adams is Jessica, and she’s a solid leader for the girl troupe. She’s got everything in order and in its place. Jessica needs to learn to let go, and Adams shows that struggle. She relaxes a bit and enjoys her time with friends while it lasts. Adams has great chemistry with Bailey Lucien as Gretchen. Gretchen is going through a bad divorce, and she wants to think of anything other than her ex-wife. Playing longtime friends comes easily to these two. They have a natural exchange and enjoyable dialogue.
Dani Becker is having the most fun as Amy. Amy is truly sincere and sincerely clueless. She tries, but fails, to pay attention to anything other than herself. Wanting to improve the mood, she begins a little ritual to release bad vibes and get the girls on the right track for the weekend. Amy encourages the friends to “cast out” their old selves.
But the moment they do, the woods come alive. Thumps and grunts come from backstage, and just as Gretchen opens the cabin door, a spooky, freaky figure appears. It’s clear these women are now in for the fight of their lives, and fight they do!
Brooke Howard is G-Inverse. Jacey Nichole is J-Inverse, and Kim Burns is A-Inverse. These Inverses serve as the elements that each character has cast out of herself, and they’re trying anything they can to get “back in”. These roles are undoubtedly freeing and fun to play. Costume design is by Dakota Bryant and Christine Jolly, and the costumes for the Inverse roles in particular really play up the Halloween vibe.
Howard is spooky and gothic as G-Inverse. She stalks into the cabin and unleashes on Gretchen. They fight her off, but soon J-Inverse and A-Inverse come onto the scene. Jacey Nichole is sultry and menacing as J-Inverse. She’s quite persuasive in her attempts to lure Jessica back to the dark side. Burns is hilarious, and truly frightening, as A-Inverse. She’s everything Amy fears others see in herself.
This show is very physical, and almost all of Act II involves rough tussling on stage. Fight choreography by Reed Bentley makes the show rough and tumble, and elevates it from funny and creepy to a heart-pounding thriller.
It’s nothing short of fun and refreshing to see new works come to life on stage. Heather Meyer is a lovely talent and has written a relevant, creeptastic show that spares the gore and puts the emphasis on self-actualization, redemption, and female friendship. Eat, Slay, Leave is a bad-ass play for and by bad-ass women. It laughs in the face of those tired male hero tropes that are so prevalent in the horror genre. With their own wit and willpower, the women in this show kick ass and have fun while doing it, and audiences are having just as much fun watching them.
Eat, Slay, Leave runs until November 6th, 2022 at 3rd Act Theatre Company’s main stage in The Shoppes at NorthPark. Tickets are available now but are selling quickly.