‘The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful,’ by Charles Ludlan, directed by Aaron Mark, plays at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge, through July 19. Tickets $42-$62
All kids, even those of us who are kids at heart, are impressed by good magic tricks. “The Mystery of Irma Vep” at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge is not only fantastical, but also full of magic tricks – of the theatrical variety. And, they are more than good! This production is fantastic — in the most campy, “out one door, in another” kind of way!
“The Mystery of Irma Vep” is rated PG13 (for a very little amount of sexual innuendo). I rate this play as “family-friendly” because your teens will love it! Even teenagers are impressed by a good magic trick and they certainly can appreciate campy cross-dressing humor and “butt” jokes. And, vampires and werewolves are so “in” right now.
Not only will your teens enjoy the show, but the entire experience. This is what summer theater in the Berkshires is meant to be! Take the beautiful drive to Stockbridge, park on the lawn and take the short walk through the trees past a big, red barn to arrive at the historic theater. History is alive in those woods and buildings. I can feel it. It’s an experience I’ve shared and will continue to share with my own children.
“The Mystery of Irma Vep” is a great play for this setting. Upon taking your seats, you’ll notice a couple of creepy Victorian ghosts (theater attendants) at the edge of the stage. Berkshire Theatre Group has added another nice touch that you should “listen” for at this moment. An additional touch of note is the “Irma Vep”-themed Lindt chocolate bars available at concessions. My friend and I spent intermission enjoying the chocolates with a cup of coffee on an outdoor bench. It was lovely.
The set is campy. The props are super campy. The costumes are amazing. The acting is superb. Bill Bowers and Tom Hewitt are both top-notch. Individually, they deliver high caliber, fine craftsmanship while at the same time exhibiting powerful chemistry and ensemble-ship. (The two actors play all eight male and female characters).
My favorites are Bill Bowers’ physicality, the costumes, and above all, the Nicodemus/Lady Enid changes. This is where is becomes magical. Some of these entrances seemed impossible! Tom Hewitt spot on delivered the changes in character. He looked hysterical and believable at the same time. It’s no mystery why this actor has been nominated for a Tony Award!
The star of this show is “theatricality.” Bowers and Hewitt perform nothing short of an athletic feat before your eyes. Spoofing multiple genres, this show is ridiculous, surprising and high energy. This laugh-out-loud romp is sure to entertain.
And guess what? We have a family four-pack of tickets to give away. All you have to do to enter is share this post on social media (be sure to tag us or we won’t know), ‘Like’ Berkshire Family Focus on Facebook or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org telling us you want to be entered by tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 2, at 11:59 p.m. EST. We will notify a winner on Thursday morning and you may choose between shows on Thursday, July 3, through Monday, July 7.
Good luck and … “May the odds be ever in your favor.”