J. A. Di Bello’s Review of The Mystery of Irma Vep

June 10, 2019

Forestburgh Playhouse


     On Tuesday, the Bronx Bombers were limited to a split, while performing in the House that Ruth Build. On the other hand, Franklin Trapp was hammerin’ out four baggers at the Forestburgh Playhouse. Franklin’s homers began early Tuesday evening in the cozy confines of the Forestburgh Tavern, where enthusiastic patrons were treated to an inspiring performance by a talented vocalist, Erin Crosby. The intended purpose was to recreate those glory days of the Starlight Lounge at the Concord Hotel. Crosby can belt them out with the best, as her spot-on performance featured vocal stylings reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra, Bert Bacharach, Peggy Lee, and Shirley Bassey.

While the Tavern’s Cabaret was sizzling with days-gone-by memories, the Main Stage was ready to dazzle this opening night audience to even greater levels of elation and delight. The evening’s performance of The Mystery of Irma Vep was written by the noted Charles Ludlam, who interestingly, directed and performed in the original production.

For the uninitiated, this production is the absolute and ultimate spoof “of Gothic melodramas.” If one’s not been there before, hold on to your socks, for this is a quick-change marathon in which all 6 parts are played by 2 actors. There’s an Egyptian princess brought to life when her tomb is violated, a werewolf and a vampire and Yes! There’s more. This comedy has it all!

Although not a fan of plays with multiple casting, this play has this writer’s highest respect. The two actors are simply put, incredible! An attentive fan is likely to wonder in amazement, “How are they doing this?” Quite simply, but not really simple in any way, is to realize that our men on stage, Buddy Haardt and Matthew Curiano, are 2 superior actors, trained and trimmed to exhibit their profession with vigor and incredible talent!

Even at this early morning hour, as this writer puts this review to print, the head is still moving left to right, side to side, “How did they do that?”

Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep also provides an opportunity to realize that a production of this caliber is more than the combined efforts of the two men on stage. There’s sound, lights, costumes and an all absorbing, sometime hilarious, set design by a talented Tim Golebiewski. The Mystery of Irma Vep reflects a dedicated team effort to create the funniest 2 hours on stage to come this way in many moons.

This is a short-run production, concluding on Sunday, June 16, as the theatre prepares for The Buddy Holly Story. Tickets are at the box office or on line at


Box office 845-794-1194
Hours: Sun & Mon 12:00 to 5:00
Tues, Wed, Fri 12:00 - 8:00
Thur & Sat 10:00 - 8:00

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.