Irma Vep Image

"A vivid and hilarious two-man tour de force"
Richard Hunt, Thornton Weekly

"This show ought to be prescribed on the NHS"
Promoter, Pipe Ridware Theatre, Staffs

"I've not heard so much laughter and applause in our theatre for years. If only you could be here the whole week!"
Promoter, Pipe Ridware Theatre, Staffs

"Well into its gruelling two month tour of Charles Ludlam's play, 'Irma Vep', the Angus & Ross Theatre Company arrived at Pickering's Memorial Hall on Sunday 8th of November to perform this unusual play... Ludlum was a prolific American playwright who had the avowed aim of fusing a variety of genres into one new whole, which he called 'Ridiculous Theatre'.Irma Vep' (an anagram of vampire) certainly fulfilled this aim.
'The plot line is 'borrowed' from Du Maurier's 'Rebecca' and the characters come straight out of Victorian Penny Dreadfuls with a good mixture of pantomime dames and the 'Carry On' films. There are seven characters in all but played by two actors, Dominic Goodwin and Emanuel Brierley who gave bravura performances, shifting in and out of costume, voice and character with aplomb. The complex set, with its doors and sliding bookcases and bleeding portraits, not to mention an Egyptian tomb complete with dancing mummy, was worth the entrance money in itself and was wonderfully adapted for farce. It was the outstanding performances of Goodwin and Brierley, which drew the laughs and admiration of an appreciative audience."

Promoter, Pipe Ridware Theatre, Staffs



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The Mystery of Irma Vep

Who is Irma Vep? That's the mystery at the heart of this outrageously funny tour-de-force. On a dark and stormy night Lady Enid arrives at The Mandacrest Estate with her new husband, Lord Edgar. He is under the spell of his deceased first wife and haunted by something that's prowling the grounds. Strange things begin to happen around Lady Enid and she soon discovers the mystery of Irma Vep, whose portrait hangs over the fireplace. This hilarious gothic spoof was once the most produced play in America and now it comes to life on Helmsley Arts Centre's intimate stage, and many others up and down the UK.

Pure silliness, as Dominic and Emanuel play all eight parts..... including women!

Director's notes: Penny Dreadfuls were spectacular, and often romantic, page-turning comic books produced in instalments in Victorian times, and known as such because each rip-roaring adventure book cost just a penny. We have endeavoured to stay true to the comic book style in all its two-dimensional glory in this production, searching for the emotional truth and comic accuracy in each 'freeze-frame'. Our simultaneous exploration of language and physicality acknowledges Ludlam's love of language, his passion for cross-dressing and his dedication to poetic irreverence.
Em Whitfield Brooks

The show toured nationally encompassing 49 performances: September - November 2009

Credits
Dominic Goodwin as Jane, Lord Edgar, An Intruder, Irma Vep
Emanuel Brierley as Nicodemus, Lady Enid, Alcazar, Pev Amri

Writer: Charles Ludlam
Director: Em Whitfield Brooks
Designer: Denise Kitchin
Stage Manager: Sue Elm
Costumes: Sue Cooper
Assistant Stage Manager: Jordan Barningham
Set Construction: Malcom Kitchin
Associate Partner: Claire Lishman, Helmsley Arts Centre
Lighting/Sound: Steve Woolmer