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Can You Solve the Mystery (Posted On: Wednesday, June 27, 2012)

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Vampires and mummies and werewolves…OH MY!  Warning:  Theatre Collingwood advises you’ll be ‘howling’ with laughter during the first comedy of the summer.  The professional theatre season opens with THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP by Charles Ludlam  with evening performances at 8pm for one week only, July 16-21, 2012 and matinees at 2pm on July 17 and 19 at the historic Gayety Theatre.
It’s a hilarious ‘send-up’ of theatrical, literary and film genres depicting gothic melodrama, Victorian thrillers and Hollywood horror. From Dracula to Alfred Hitchcock, it mocks every cliché imaginable in true vaudeville style with ancient curses, spooky omens, hair-raising suspense, and grisly deaths.
 
As expected, the story begins on a dark and stormy night, when the lady of the house arrives at a gloomy mansion on the edge of a murky English moor with her new husband, who is under the spell of his deceased first wife and haunted by something that’s prowling the grounds. Strange things begin to happen and Lady Enid soon discovers the mystery of Irma Vep.
 
This comedic tour-de-force is a quick change marathon for Kevin Dennis and Adrian Marchuk who perform eight characters. Thirty-nine costumes changes take place during the show.  Costume Designer Linda Phillips admits: “I have done lots of plays with quick changes, but Irma Vep is in a class by itself. Because two actors play all the roles, there are constant costume transformations, some of them in mere seconds. It's a huge challenge for me as a costumer, and an excellent demonstration of the usefulness of velcro!”
 
Stage Director Steven Thomas is also Set & Sound Designer. Sarah Scroggie (Lighting Designer), Rachel Thomas (Scenic Artist) and Chelsea Coulter (Head of Props) assist in this wacky adventure. Barry Cook (Stage Manager), along with Paula Stewart (Assistant Technical Director), Amanda Bryce and Meghan Maguire (Production Assistants) are responsible for keeping this technically complex show on track.
 
Irma Vep is proudly sponsored by Season Sponsor, Blue Mountain Resort and Co-Production Sponsors, Scenic Caves Nature Adventures and Scandinave Spa, Blue Mountain.
 
The play is subtitled ‘A Penny Dreadful’ after the Victorian melodramatic fiction printed on cheap pulp paper that cost a penny.  They featured serial installments of sensational stories of murder, mystery and mayhem.
 
An award-winning comedy, The Mystery of Irma Vep was first produced in 1984 by Ludlam's Ridiculous Theatrical Company, opening off-off-Broadway in New York City’s Greenwich Village, and running there for two years to rave reviews. In 1991, it became the most produced play in the United States.  Playwright Charles Ludlam said: "Our slant was actually to take things very seriously, especially focusing on those ‘things held in low esteem by society’ and revaluing them, giving them new meaning, new worth, by changing their context".
 
Laughs Artistic Director, Steven Thomas, “This wickedly entertaining play has been on my list for years. While it appears ridiculous, it is brilliantly written as a salute to classic literature and wordplay. We intend to play the outrageous and over-the-top showmanship to extremes”.
 
Subscription savings of between $25 - $32 are still available – but only until July 21st.  Plus subscribers received a bonus Collingwood Dairy Queen sweet treat card featuring four special offers.  Single tickets are $36 (adults), $31 (groups 10+ booked in advance), $18 (youth), $5 eyeGO (High school).
 
Popular packages include: “Georgian Bay Theatre Escape” accommodation package at Blue Mountain Resort,  “Scenery, Spa & Showtime” package offering passes to Scenic Caves, Spa Scandinave and a theatre ticket, and the gourmet dinner-theatre package at The Stuffed Peasant.
 
Reserve your tickets today to enjoy best available seating.  Single tickets may be booked on-line through the website.  In person, visit Theatre Collingwood’s year-round Box Office, newly relocated to 65 Simcoe Street.  Tickets may be purchased one hour prior to performance at the Gayety Theatre.  For package information or to reserve by phone, contact:  (705) 445-2200 / 1 (866) 382-2200 or visit our website
 
Be prepared for thrills, chills and hysterical laughter as you solve The Mystery of Irma Vep!
 
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