The Plaza District seems to be a few degrees chillier than the rest of the city these days. This is likely due to the fact that Halloween is arriving at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’ s Plaza Theatre a little early this year with the premiere of “The Mystery of Irma Vep” on Wednesday, October 10. The show runs for three weeks, closing on Saturday, October 27. If the start of “Lyric’s A Christmas Carol” means the holiday season is in full swing, then this show is surely the way to kick-off the year’s spookiest celebration.
For those who have not recently brushed up on their theater history, “The Mystery of Irma Vep” was written by Charles Ludlam and is one of the most-produced plays in history. The script, a spoof on Victorian melodramas and horror films, requires masterful comedic timing and the humor is likened to that of the “Carol Burnett Show.” Much like the theater favorite “Greater Tuna,” all eight parts in the show are portrayed by just two actors. Think lighting fast costume changes, a slew of funny accents and (you guessed it) men portraying Victorian era women. Spooky hilarity ensues, to say the least.
Lyric’s Artistic Director Michael Baron is directing the play as an answer to decades of fascination with Charles Ludlam and his work. The theatre has brought in two of its audiences’ favorite actors—Monte Riegel Wheeler and Jeffrey Meek. Wheeler was most recently seen playing the Ed Sullivan-loving Mr. MacAfee in last summer’s BYE BYE BIRDIE. The ridiculous faces he is able to make alone are enough for me to go see “Irma Vep.” Wheeler’s on-stage counterpart, Jeffrey Meek, not only acts as the resident costume designer at Lyric year-round, but you may have also seen his work at The Boom as Norma Jean Goldstein.
I spoke with Meek and Wheeler earlier this week. “Irma Vep is going to be one crazy ride,” said Meek. “The perfect Halloween treat—it starts off spooky and quickly takes the audiences on a fast-paced, out of control night of old school fun.”
“The show is filled with thrills, chills, horror, high drama and outrageous comedy,” said Wheeler. “Audiences can expect colorful characters, excitement, intrigue, a lot of laughs and some fun surprises!”
Start your Halloween off right with “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” October 10-27, at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre. Click here for tickets or call the box office at (405) 524-9312.