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Theater review: Desert Star's 'Hungry Games' serves up hilarious family fun

Published: Thursday, Sept. 12 2013 6:45 p.m. MDT

Desert Star’s latest show, “The Hungry Games,” entertains with a multitude of popular song spoofs and witty comments on Utah society and popular culture. The show is based loosely on the film and book “The Hunger Games” and tells the story of a world in which food is scarce and the only thriving businesses are fast food chains and reality television.

The show is playing through Nov. 9 and tickets range from $9.95 to $17.95. As the first show written by actor and writer Bryan Dayley, the storyline is intriguing and the comedy is true to Desert Star’s reputation as hilarious and family friendly.

In this story, Katnip and Grimrose Neverclean, Pizza Malarky and two other contestants participate in The Hungry Games — a competition hosted by Donald MacRonald, during which contestants are required to outlast each other surviving in the woods. Little do the contestants know that the competition is a scam to get publicity and MacRonald has no intention of paying out in the end.

Katnip, played by Alexis Owen, is an optimist and infatuated with a fellow Hungry Games contestant, Gail Rodriguez, played by Danny Eggers. Both Owen and Rodriguez fit their parts nicely and have great voices.

Katnip’s sister, Grimrose, is a goth girl with a penchant for the macabre. Played by Kerstin Davis, the character is the perfect mix of humor and parody for the show. Davis’ role couldn’t have been better cast.

A number of other characters make the show a hit. Pizza, played by Jeff Jensen, is in love with Katnip but has the inconvenient talent of never being seen by anyone. Jensen’s rendition of a takeoff of Duran Duran’s song “Hungry Like the Wolf” is one of the best numbers in the show.

Meanwhile, Jason West, who plays Haymitch Hogan, fits his part perfectly as the retired wrestler-turned-trainer. Donald MacRonald, played by Matt Kohler, and Wendy MacRonald, played by Erica Walters, pair up successfully for the ultimate bad-guy team.

The show includes a number of riffs off well-known songs such as “Masquerade” from “Phantom of the Opera" and “Matchmaker” from "Fiddler on the Roof."

The accompanying olio is noteworthy, with a number of hit songs like “Camp Granada,” “Make ‘Em Laugh” from "Singin' in the Rain" and an exceptionally funny reworking of "The Little Mermaid" song “Part of Your World” as “Part of Your Ward.”

The show is appropriate for families and makes clear at the beginning that none of the characters will actually die.

Desert Star is located at 4861 S. State, Murray. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 801-266-2600 or visit www.desertstar.biz.

Email: ajones@desnews.com

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