note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
The only folks having more fun than the audience are the two actors performing every role in Charles Ludlam’s gender bending THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP (playing through Dec. 21st). Ludlam’s comic Gothic melodrama wends its way across the English moors to the dusty tombs of Egypt in search of laughs---not to mention a werewolf.
Director Spiro Veloudos has a few extra tricks up his sleeve (like the DELIVERENCE duel) to add to the thousands of allusions you will happily discover in VEP. Yes, VEP is terminally silly stuff but watching Neil A. Casey morph from Klaus Kinski to Margaret Rutherford to Peter Lorre is reason alone to go---and John Kuntz cleans up, so to speak, a la Dame Judith Anderson as the seething housekeeper who disapproves of her employer’s new wife.
Dewey Dellay’s shamelessly spooky, Theremin-inspired music ratchets up the horror factor and Gail Astrid Buckley’s gorgeous frocks for the “ladies” even have puffy shoulder padding which generates chuckles.