26 January 2012
...while making it look quite easy, in a well directed show, with a fairly funny script: That's The Mystery of Irma Vep at Playhouse on Park.
The actors, Rich Hollman and Sean Harris, play all the characters in this spoof of every horror film and murder mystery anyone has ever seen. Even in this most unsubtle of comedies, the two display deft touches of timing and chacterization each time they (re)appear on stage -- no matter the costume, the accent, the gender, or even the incredibly short time in which they have to make such changes! As directed by Peter James Cook, the actors give their all but, even granting the limitations of the spoof form, the script, I feel, doesn't carry its part of the load.
I learned (at the always engaging talkback after last Sunday's performance) that the play's been around for more than two decades and began at the playwright Charles Ludlum's own company and was first performed by the Ludlum and his partner for their friends. That history explains to me why, while an enjoyable romp, the play isn't as tightly constructed and, as a result, not as exhilarating a theatrical event as, say, The Complet Wks of Willm Shakes (Abridged), which POP produced with these two performers previously.
Oh, I quibble. The performances are indeed remarkable, and the show certainly enjoyable, and, since an evening of laughter is never something to sneeze at, you should take advantage of the kind of quality night out that we've all come to expect at Playhouse on Park.
The play runs through 29 January.
Posted by Gilbert Gigliotti at 11:49 AM