Cape Town Audiences Counting Down the Days Until THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP's Opening at Theatre On The Bay
With the Johannesburg leg of its tour running full tilt, audiences in the Mother City are counting down the days until the opening night of THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town. DOWNTON ABBEY and the TWILIGHT saga collide in Charles Ludlam's spoof, will is being presented in South Africa by VR Theatrical by special arrangement with Samuel French.
Directed by Elizma Badenhorst for VR Theatrical, THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP features an original score by Wessel Odendaal. Heading up the design teams are Pierre du Plessis (wardrobe), Nadine and Louis Minnaar (scenery) and Oliver Hauser (lighting) respectively. This production is the fledgeling company's first play, following co-productions of the five-time Naledi Award-nominated I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE and the double Fleur Du Cap Theatre Award-winning hit, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH.
Set on a remote manor called Mandacrest, something is amiss in THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP. Between the horrors of a marauding beast terrorising the estate and the looming presence of the recently deceased former mistress Irma Vep, matters become awkward in the extreme for Lord Edgar and his new wife, Lady Enid. In this side-splitting comedy, all the residents of the Mandacrest estate travel from the moors of England to the tombs of Egypt and back again, encountering along their way a host of vampires, werewolves, mummies and all manner of things that go bump in the night. With Gothic plot twists thrown out like thumbtacks on the road and a stage packed full of outrageous sets and costumes, THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP is a visual feast that promises to have the audience in stitches right up until the final twist.
Even more bizarre than the cast of characters in this deliciously retro whodunnit is the fact that all of these lunatics, beasts, ghouls and gentlefolk are played by only two actors: the lightning-witted Jonathan Roxmouth and the inimitable Weslee Swain Lauder.
Commenting on the kind of madcap approach he adopted in creating THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP, Ludlam wrote in "Confessions of a Farceur":
I sometimes think that the Ridiculous is the only serious theatre. After all, everywhere you look in this world there's something that's ridiculous. It's important to help people see that. I often think all theatre is ridiculous, but we're not always willing to admit it.
Following its July run at Pieter Toerien's Montecasino Theatre in Johannesburg, THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP will be on the boards at Theatre On The Bay in Cape Town from 3 - 19 August. Bookings are through Computicket. Keep up with all things IRMA VEP on the official Facebook page for the production.