The Mummy reviews just in!

“…Milner’s script reminds me of the golden age of radio comedy with its wordplay and double talk, complemented by much on-stage comic business of Harmston’s devising. The laughs keep coming…. a laugh-out-loud romp, played to the hilt by a very funny ensemble…. The Mummy is an old-fashioned slice of British silliness, clever and stupid at the same time, a celebration of artifice and theatricality while sending up its own form.” William Stafford, Yam Yam 

“Madcap, slapstick and silly…” Birmingham Post

“Frighteningly funny…” Daventry Express

“Pure comic genius….” The Public Review

 

Can I hold your hand, mummy? “REVIEWSGATE”

 

Into the Belgrade main house stomps a rip-roaring farce, mixed with judicious elements of pantomime, based loosely – very loosely – on Bram Stoker’s novel ‘The Jewel of the Seven Stars’. The plot is – well, complicated! Beginning as a lantern slide lecture narrated by our brave hero, Malcolm Ross - Jason Durr at his most suave – this is a story of deadly doings in deepest Cornwall.

Suddenly we are there, on a dark and stormy night – it would be – in the Cornish manor house where Egyptologist, Professor Trelawney, in search of the secret of eternal life – receives a mysterious package containing the ancient but remarkably fresh hand of a long dead Egyptian Queen, with a ring on one of its seven fingers! Cue dastardly attacks, Egyptian curses, ancient family retainers, a rather dim Inspector and beautiful suspect, the professor’s daughter, Margaret.

With the appearance of the dashing Boys Own hero, Basil Corbeck, the professor’s sidekick, the action moves to Egypt and the pyramids, where the Professor hopes to resurrect the Queen and learn her secrets. Our gallant hero, desperately in love with Margaret, goes along with them.

What could possibly go wrong?

Among the cast, Susie Amy excels as the vampish heroine, Margaret, Denis Lill makes a bluff, hearty professor and Dean Rehman enjoys himself as the villain priest, Sostra sick of eternal life and only wanting to be dead! Throw in Andrew Bone as the rather dim Inspector Doolan, David Partridge as the dashing explorer, and the plethora of extra characters the cast play alongside their own and the evening is packed with camp horror and fun! Particular mention to the wonderful scene where Explorer Basil demonstrates his expertise in the ‘Abyssinian dance craze’ known as the ‘peanut dance’ while Malcolm retaliates with his own bottom-wiggling routine.

The production is technically excellent - although so clever that the start was delayed by fifteen minutes due to a technical hitch! - with clever lighting and sound, a great set design and some very good special effects. All in all, a delightfully silly and gloriously entertaining evening.

Reviewer: Nicole Evans “THE PUBLIC REVIEWS”

Writer: Jack Milner

Director: Joe Harmston

What do you get if you cross Bram Stoker, A Carry On film and a stage show?

Something close to Joe Harmston’s new production The Mummy which showcases itself at The Belgrade Theatre this evening. Billed as “The mother of all comedy horrors” and promising an “evening of insane adventure and entertainment”, The Mummy vows to be scary, witty and relentlessly silly.

Spanning 5000 years, The Mummy focuses on the quest of Egyptologist Trelawny, who, with the help of his quirky, camp sidekick Basil Corbeck, is trying to end an ancient curse and resurrect a mystical Egyptian Queen by bringing her severed hand back to life with a set of seven artefacts and a jewel.

The play begins in Cornwall (of course!) and we soon meet the narrator and hero of the story, Ross. A humorous, do-it-yourself, Shadowland style projection explains the origins of the great curse and brings us to the present day with the help of a couple of Cornish fishermen…yes you heard correctly.

As the projection screen is peeled away a simple, roll-on, roll-off set is revealed and these simple props will transport us everywhere from the Lizard Peninsular to ancient Egypt. You’d be forgiven for thinking that all of this is a recipe for utter madness, and that is exactly what unfolds over the next 2 hours.

Parts of this play are pure comic genius, others however, lack the ability to charm and at times feel a bit too long and drawn out. Although entertaining, the clever word play just isn’t enough to keep the audience’s interest and the play seems to rely a bit too heavily on its script and we are left with the feeling that a little more needs to be added to the performance aspect of the production. Jason Durr as Ross is the exception to this and he holds the play together with his perfectly slick, far from dull narration and faultless transitions back into his acting role. Even when the on-stage antics get completely ridiculous he remains locked in character and a raised eyebrow is enough to raise a laugh. Effortless demonstrating his professionalism and versatility, he is clearly the right man for the job and saves the show from a curse of its own stupidity. Susie Amy’s performance is a little patchy at times and the odd pause too many means that the dialog doesn’t flow as well as it could at times. Despite a few faults, she injects plenty of enthusiasm into her over-the-top role as the story’s heroine and mostly manages to keep a straight face through the streams of innuendo throughout the farcical nature of the play.

 

COVENTRY TELEGRAPH and BIRMINGHAM POST

Overall Harmston’s production of The Mummy is enough to please. The antics can be a bit too ridiculous, the script tediously witty and the music sounding like it’s piped directly from the rollercoaster queue at Alton Towers, but you certainly won’t curse yourself for going to see it.

As smooth, suave barrister Malcolm Ross, actor Jason Durr does a fabulous job of narrating this new off-the-wall horror comedy.

He tells the bizarre story of Maurice Trelawny an Egyptologist based in Cornwall, who is sent a mysterious parcel from Morocco containing the severed hand of 5,000-year-old Egyptian Queen Tera.

That night Maurice’s own hand is mysteriously attacked.

The barrister, who is in love with the Egyptologist’s beautiful daughter Margaret (Susie Amy), and an inspector are called in to investigate.

Inspired by the film of the same name, Jack Milner’s script is loosely based on Dracula author Bram Stoker’s novel Jewel of the Seven Stars.

Expect lots of special effects, fake plastic severed hands, a re-animated mummy and a little bit of audience participation.

Madcap, slapstick and silly – many of the cast play several weird-and-wonderful characters.

Sexual innuendos between Malcolm and Margaret are a-plenty as they flirt.

An amusing menage a trois livens things up when David Partridge as Boys Own adventurer Basil Corbeck, enters the scene. The funniest scene occurs at camp when Margaret brings out an old record player and asks her two suitors to dance.

Explorer Basil performs the strange “peanut dance” – “an Abyssinian dance craze”; while Malcolm steps up with his own bottom-wiggling routine – much to the delight of female fans in the audience.

As characters are wheeled on-and-off the stage it’s like being on the set of an early black-and-white Hammer Horror.

But it simply doesn’t deliver the killer blow. I smiled a lot, but laughed out loud just a few times.

The fine actors were impressive and brought a playful energy, particularly David Partridge in all his incarnations, Andrew Bone as Inspector Doolan, Dean Rehman as Sosra and veteran actor Denis Lil, who gave a polished performance as The Egyptologist.

 

Daventry Express

The Mummy, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Until Saturday

This a comedy-horror loosely based on Bram Stoker’s Jewel of the Seven Stars, is a brand new production making its world premiere on the Coventry stage. Inspired by the scores of cult movies, The Mummy tells a glorious tale of adventure and intrigue that spans thousands of years offering both hilarity and shrieks of horror in equal measure. The search for mystical Queen Tera’s Tomb throws together a handsome lawyer, a beautiful heiress and a 5,000-year old man seeking his long-lost ancient love to deliver a relentlessly silly and humour-packed show. The hard-working cast of seven play a myriad of characters, headed up by Jason Durr and Susie Amy who do a splendid job as the hapless heroes. An entertaining yarn for the whole family.

 

THE MUMMY
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 25th March, 2014 Coventry Yam Yam

Director Joe Harmston has put together a company of actors, many of whom are familiar from his productions of Agatha Christie plays, and brings out a different side to them in this delightfully silly show, loosely based on an old Bram Stoker story, The Jewel Of The Seven Stars. From the start, you know you’re in for a treat as Jason Durr narrates the back story, accompanied by some hilariously low-tech projections and shadow play. Jack Milner’s script reminds me of the golden age of radio comedy with its wordplay and double talk, complemented by much on-stage comic business of Harmston’s devising. The laughs keep coming.

It’s not perfect: the quick fire gags are hit-and-miss and the pacing flags a little in the first act. The audience participation that greets us when we’ve come back from the bar for the second act is needed earlier on – especially since the curtain up was delayed by quarter of an hour due to a technical hitch; we needed warming-up by then. The second act tears along relentlessly and consistently daft.

On the whole, it’s a laugh-out-loud romp, played to the hilt by a very funny ensemble. Denis Lill is spkendidly crazed as the Egyptologist on a mission – as well as a couple of other roles – Jason Durr, the heroic lawyer with his eye on Lill’s daughter (there is a dancing scene that ensures I will never regard Durr in the same light) and David Partridge is very funny as bonkers explorer Corbeck. Andrew Bone makes the most of his role as Inspector Doolan.

There is much fun to be had with doubling of roles and dummies but for me the revelation of the night is the beautiful Susie Amy, vamping it up and camping it up as the Professor’s daughter and the reincarnated Egyptian princess. I hope she does more comedy in the future. Dean Rehman’s immortal high priest Sosra is a deliciously evil (and hilarious) creation – I shan’t forget the eye-pulling scene in a hurry.

It’s a great-looking show too. Sean Cavanagh’s set design is almost like a toy theatre; scenes are wheeled on and off on trucks by stagehands dressed as workmen, keeping things moving and allowing for some very funny exits and entrances. Ben Cracknell’s lighting casts a nostalgic glow over the proceedings, the soft haze of an old film.

The Mummy is an old-fashioned slice of British silliness, clever and stupid at the same time, a celebration of artifice and theatricality while sending up its own form.