Gothic mystery is melodramatic fun

2010-07-22 00:00


The Mystery of Irma Vep

Heritage Theatre, Hillcrest

IF you love gothic thrillers and over-the-top B movies, then you’re going to love The Mystery of Irma Vep. It’s camp, melodramatic and a real hoot. This play has everything — werewolves, vampires, Egyptian mummies, frail heroines …

Michael Gritten and Steven Stead perform each of the eight roles in the play, which takes place in Mandacrest, an isolated manor house on the Yorkshire moors. Characters brought to life include the seemingly fragile former actress, Lady Enid (Gritten), and her wolf-obsessed husband, Lord Edgar Hillcrest (Stead); their Irish housekeeper Jane Twisden (Stead), who enjoys a hot toddy and is in love with her employer; and Nicodemus Underwood (Gritten), a servant with a wooden leg and an eye for the ladies.

So what exactly is The Mystery of Irma Vep about? At its heart, the play reveals a mystery surrounding the deaths of Lord Hillcrest’s first wife, ­Irma, and their child, Victor. Were they murdered or were their deaths accidental? I’m not telling, but as the truth is revealed, some of the characters prove they are not what they ­appear to be … Even the set has a few secrets to reveal.

Greg King directs the production and his steady hand helps keep things together, despite the manic pace and dizzying number of costume changes.

So, if you’re looking for a fun night out — and a tasty dinner — then head down to the Heritage and watch The Mystery of Irma Vep. But hurry, the run ends on Sunday.


• The Mystery of Irma Vep is at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest until July 25. See it today, tomorrow or Saturday at 7 pm for 8.30 pm, or on Sunday at 12.30 pm for 2 pm. Tickets are R190, which includes a two-course meal, or R100 for the show only. To book phone 031 765 4197.

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