Poe Evermore is an annual theatre production at the Mount Hope Mansion in Manheim, Pa. The first thing seen upon arrival is a lighted Gothic fountain with spooky music carried forth by a crisp autumn wind.
Guests have the choice of purchasing tickets for either just the performance, or to include a meal before the show. However, those who opt for only the performance miss out on the comedic bantering by the actors as they intervene during dinner.
Who knew a puppet could fold a napkin into a swan?
Indeed, one of the characters in the performance is keen on puppets, his favorite being a top hat-wearing fellow named Barnaby. After a delightful three-course meal, guests then move to the mansion, where the real fun begins.
Moving through the mansion, guests will notice porcelain dolls; everywhere. Whole ones, headless ones, eyeless ones, caged ones. The creepy atmosphere continues as the actors remain intently in-character as they offer guests fake cockroaches to hold while they sip their “gin” that looks suspiciously like water.
The show itself is held in three separate rooms, where guests are sectioned off and rotated after each “room show” to experience the live performance of one or more of Edgar Allan Poe’s works.
The first “room show” is a choice between the sister or the uncle of the household. The sister (Megan Jones) is obsessed with spirits and astrology, while the uncle (Jake Dailey) is pleasantly delusional. Either one will lead to a dramatic reading of “The Black Cat.”
The next “room show” introduces the master of the house and his wife. The man (Jake Duvall-Early) is the proud owner of a number of puppets, which he uses to represent different characters in the story. His wife (Kaitlyn Noble) is constantly drinking gin, but loves her husband in their dysfunctional marriage which is made manageable due to their shared passion for murder. Together the couple perform Poe’s “The Man That Was Used Up.”
The third and final “room show” features Edgar Allan Poe himself (Chris Krause) shortly after having published his collection of short stories. Here, he presents “The Sleeper,” “Annabel Lee,” and “The Raven.”
The mansion and the atmosphere is amazing and certainly fits the dark theme, but the actors truly make Poe Evermore an experience. Their dedication to their work shows in their performance, and they have a lot of fun doing it. Anyone who enjoys Edgar Allan Poe, live performances, or even just good food and drink should consider going to Poe Evermore for a fantastic experience.