The Mystery of Irma Vep Runs Through Nov. 18

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre  did it again … another success with its latest production, The Mystery of Irma Vep~A Penny Dreadful at the Copaken Theatre on Friday, Oct. 26. This wacky, crazy and funny play written by Charles Ludlam had the entire audience in stitches from beginning to end. What made it even better, minus the engaging story were the actors – two men playing multiple roles. Thus, a cast of two, Ron Megee with his debut at the KC Rep starred as, Jane Twisden/Lord Edgar Hillcrest/An Intruder while Mark Robbins starred as Nicodemus/Underwood/Lady Enid Hillcrest/Alcazar and Pev Amri. Multiple costume changes, men as men, men as women, a werewolf and a male cast as a female mummy offered many eye-popping characters.

The stage sets are striking; the pitched effects of the ceiling and portraits coupled with a trip to Egypt, an adventure of a lifetime, to find a sarcophagus-sera copus-sericarpis … these mispronunciations provided a raucous laughter from the gallows of the audience’s bellies.

Has there ever been a play (with roots dating back past Shakespeare’s insistence) that seeing burley men playing the role of women aren’t entertaining, then audiences completely missed the magic of this cross-gender comedy!  Is this a mystery, yes; it has its twists and turns.  Is The Mystery of IrmaVep~A Penny Dreadful a must see on your theater outings before it closes Nov. 18?  Hands down, knee-slapping, standing ovation YES.

Heidi Nast

Heidi Nast is the Executive Director of the Arts Engagement Foundation of Kansas City and Co-Founder of KC Studio Magazine.

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