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The Mystery of Irma Vep - A Penny Dreadful

Full-Length Play, Comedy  /  2m

Charles Ludlam's rollicking satire – performed by just two actors – skewers several theatrical, literary and film genres, including Victorian melodrama, farce, the penny dreadful, Wuthering Heights and Rebecca.

The Mystery of Irma Vep - A Penny Dreadful

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2m
  • Duration
    Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Period, Parody / Spoof
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1999 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival
    Nominee: Three 1999 Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Play

Details

Summary
This definitive spoof of Gothic melodramas, recently revived off-Broadway to raves, is a quick-change marathon in which two actors play all the roles, including a sympathetic werewolf, a vampire, and an Egyptian princess brought to life when her tomb is opened.
History
The Mystery of Irma Vep premiered off-off-Broadway at The Ridiculous Theatrical Company in September 1984. Directed by Charles Ludlam, the production starred Ludlam and Everett Quinton. In 1998, the play was revived off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre, starring Quinton and Stephen DeRosa.
Cast Attributes

LADY ENID HILLCREST
LORD EDGAR HILLCREST
NICODEMUS UNDERWOOD
JANE TWISDEN
AN INTRUDER
ALCAZAR
IRMA VEP

All roles are portrayed by two performers. Suggested splitting:

ACTOR 1: Nicodemus Underwood / Lady Enid Hillcrest / Alcazar / Irma Vep
ACTOR 2: Jane Twidsen / Lord Edgar Hillcrest / An Intruder

All roles are portrayed by two performers.

  • Time Period 1930s, 1920s
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Special Effects
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)

Media

“Lunatic fun that keeps you in stitches.” – The New York Daily News

“Far and away the funniest two hours on a New York stage... What more meaningful gift could Ludlam bequeath [audiences] than to leave them eternally laughing.” – The New York Times

“A really good laugh... The story has to be seen to be believed.” – The New York Post

“A true vaudeville tour de farce... It's wonderful!” – Time

"A hearty mixture of thrills, laughter and extravagant showmanship.” – The Village Voice

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

Scripts

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Authors

Charles Ludlam

Charles Ludlam (1943-1987) grew up in Queens, New York, just a few subway stops from Greenwich Village, and the heart of Gay America. At 24, he founded the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, where he wrote, directed and performed in almost every production for the next two decade ...
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