Grizzly ghouls from every tomb come out to play at Monte
It was a night out for vampires, mummies and werewolves – and a glittering array of South Africa’s stage and TV stars – at the opening night of The Mystery of Irma Vep, showing at the Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino in Fourways.
The audience, keen to get into the spirit of the evening, arrived at the theatre all decked out in their best interpretations of Gothic Victorian chic.
The play, written by Charles Ludlam, is a crazy farce that crams every creature and cliché from the age of the penny dreadful and the B-grade horrormovie genre into two hours, with a cast of only two: actors Jonathan Roxmouth and Weslee Swain Lauder.
Among the early arrivals were actress, writer, director and producer Lizz Meiring and the production’s seamstress, Madelaine Lotter. Meiring said the cast and crew call Lotter “kom help Madelaine” as she is a last-minute fixer – just that morning she’d sewn an entire dress for the production. That’s quite a feat, given the intricacies of ruffles and hooped skirts that Roxmouth and Lauder gallop about in as they dash in and out of characters and outfits.
Other well-known faces attending opening night were actors Theo Landey, Craig Urbani and Terence Bridgett, who stole the dress-up show by turning up as a particularly dashing version of Dracula. Theatre legends Des and Dawn Lindberg were there, as was Dirk Badenhorst, chief executive of the SA International Ballet Competition and the newly formed group Cuban Dance SA AKA CuDanSA. Also on the guest list was Roxmouth’s co-star from West Side Story, Lynelle Kenned. Cito, best known as the frontman of rock band Wonderboom, was there too. He is the co-founder of entertainment services provider The Co-Lab Network and is no stranger to theatre performances, having famously sung the part of Jesus in Paul Warwick Griffin’s bonsai version of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Corlene Furstenberg, the wardrobe mistress from e.tv’s soapie Scandal!, was the most stylish woman in the room – probably an occupational hazard for her – from her chignon to her ankle boots with delicate detail of golden flowers.
The two actors kept their audience in gales of laughter as they whipped around the stage, and when they finally ripped off their wigs to take their final bows, they were given a standing ovation for their athleticism and the sheer lunacy of it all.
The Mystery of Irma Vep is on at Montecasino until July 30. It then moves to Cape Town’s Theatre on the Bay from August 3 to 19.
– Gayle Edmunds
DECKED OUT Corlene Furstenberg and actor Terence Bridgett
HATS UP Director Elizma Badenhorst and producer Jaco van Rensburg celebrate opening night
TALENTED TRIO Musical theatre stars Alyssa Harrison, Michael Fullard and Darius Engelbrecht
ALL SMILES Reg Hart, from West Side Story, and Dionne Song, from M-Net sitcom The Coconuts