Press Release: Gothic Spoof The Mystery of Irma Vep Brings Laughs to Hedgerow

The stage at Hedgerow Theatre will be transformed into an estate in the English moors and an Egyptian tomb for its production of Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep, a riotous, madcap spoof of gothic mysteries and horror movies, which runs from February 27 to April 6.

The New York Times called the play “far and away the funniest two hours on a New York stage” when it first opened in 1984 at Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatre Company, known for its offbeat, outrageous comedies. Its primary setting is Mandacrest, the spooky British estate of famed Egyptologist Lord Edgar, which may or may not be haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Irma Vep. Among the seven other main characters are his second wife, Lady Enid, the loyal maid, Jane, a Cockney groundskeeper with a peg leg, and assorted otherworldly creatures.

Adding to the campy fun is the fact that all of the roles, male and female, are played by two actors, both men, who make more than 35 lightning-fast costume changes. That challenge is in the capable hands of Hedgerow veterans Joel Guerrero and Carl Smith, as directed by Artistic Director Jared Reed, a graduate of Juilliard.

Guerrero, who’s just begun his second year as an Acting Fellow, received rave reviews last summer as John Smith in the Ray Cooney farce Run For Your Wife, and also acted in Pride and Prejudice, Macbeth and A Christmas Carol in addition to directing numerous children’s musicals. Smith, who recently became a member of Actors’ Equity, was a Fellow from 2008 to 2011. He last appeared at Hedgerow in Corpse! last fall, and has also performed at other local venues, including People’s Light & Theatre, Bristol Riverside and the Arden.

Following a preview on Thursday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m., shows are scheduled through April 6 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. There are also two Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m. on March 12 and April 2, which include a complimentary tea.

Adult ticket prices for Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows are $34; Thursday shows are $29. There is a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those aged 30 and under are $20; for students with valid ID they are $15. Previews are $20 for adults and seniors and $15 for students. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations, call 610-565-4211, or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre, America’s First Repertory Theatre, is at 64 Rose Valley Road, in Rose Valley (near Media).