Valley Center Stage is excited to open its 2017-2018 season with Charles Ludlam’s frighteningly funny play, The Mystery of Irma Vep – a Penny Dreadful. Irma Vep is a fast paced comedic ride, an over the top horror story, taking place at the sinister estate of an aristocrat and his new wife, a nervous stage actress of some distinction, and their employees, an awkward gardener and a no nonsense maid. All who reside at the manor find themselves bedeviled by a werewolf, a ghost, a vampire, a sarcophagus and an unsolved murder. This play is a joyful embrace of melodramatic theater, borrowing from a smorgasbord of works such as Wuthering Heights, the Hitchcock film, Rebecca, Shakespeare, Victorian penny dreadfuls and the entire selection of American vampire, mummy and werewolf movies. For good reason, Irma Vep has the distinction of being Ludlam’s most popular work, inspiring hundreds of productions around the world.
The Mystery of Irma Vep – A Penny Dreadful is directed by Valley Center Stage’s Artistic Director, Jim Snyder, whose recent directing credits include this past summer’s production of the heartwarming kids’ musical, Caps for Sale!, and last season’s successful production of Superior Donuts, by Tracey Letts.
Join us for some laughs and surprises as we take you into the strange mansion and world of Lord Edgar; it will get you in the perfect, ghoulish mood for Halloween!
"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
"Lunatic fun that keeps you in stitches." -The New York Daily News
"A true vaudeville tour de farce... It's wonderful." -Time "A hearty mixture of thrills, laughter and extravagant showmanship." -The Village Voice
“The Mystery of Irma Vep is the most perfect expression of Ludlam’s approach to theatre: a play that simultaneously provokes terror, laughter and a grotesque mockery of all gender, literary and special boundaries.” –Michael Feingold, Village Voice.