A cross between a late night scary movie and the Carol Burnett variety show, Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep draws big laughs as it spoofs horror conventions of movies, literature, and the stage. A loving pastiche of everything from Rebecca, Psycho, and Edgar Allen Poe, the show cheekily mixes together suspense and comedy in a hilarious salute to Halloween.
On a dark and stormy night, Lord Edgar (Matthew Floyd Miller) and Lady Enid (Jamie Torcellini) arrive at their haunted estate, filled with sinister goings-on. Experiencing everything from vampire attacks, werewolf sightings, and an expedition to an ancient Egyptian tomb, can they survive what goes bump in the night?
Miller and Torcellini give excellent performances displaying deft timing and chemistry in their multiple roles, with Miller’s underplaying complementing Torcellini’s naughty portrayals. Their female characters almost steal the show, however. They also drew many laughs riffing off a wayward mustache.
Director Jenny Sullivan deftly juggles all the plates, keeping the story roaring along. She draws excellent timing from her cast, which enhances the amazing quick changes and frenetic pace of proceedings.
Fine design work complements the rip-roaring production. Alex Jaeger’s lovely costumes, Thomas S. Giamario’s rich set and atmospheric lighting, and David Beaudry’s scary sound design give deep character to the show.
Filled with double entendres and suggestive language, the show is suitable for more mature audiences.
The Mystery of Irma Vep is sublimely ridiculous entertainment, a lighthearted romp featuring monsters, scares, and damsels in distress.
The Mystery of Irma Vep plays Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. through Nov. 17 at the Falcon Theatre located at 4252 Riverside Dr. in Burbank. Tickets cost $34.50-$37 for Wednesday-Thursday performances, and $39.50-$42 for Friday-Sunday performances. Student rates of $27 are available with valid ID. Call (818) 955-8108, or visit falcontheatre.com for tickets or information.