The Mummy Rises successfully takes the mummy, a classic monster, into a play riddled with humorous dialogue and ardent characters, without losing the horror and intrigue of the Gothic genre.
Play: The Mummy Rises
Director/Writer: Tim Brain
Theatre Company: Nexus Theatre and From The Hip Productions
Showings: July 14, July 15th, July 16th @7:30pm, Saturday matinée @2pm
Location: Nexus Theatre (Murdoch University, 90 South street 6150 WA)
The play begins with a spotlight on a book and Indiana Jones-esque music. Then the sound of chiseling before the tomb is entered. One wall is covered in hieroglyphics and on another lays a sarcophagus. Act One is set in Egypt where a team of archaeologists set out on an expedition to find Artek Bay’s tomb. Those who disturb Artek Bay’s tomb are warned. But will they heed that warning? What would the consequences be if they don’t?
The comedic dialogue in the play contrasted well with the presence of the mummy. Issues such as gender roles and domestic violence were also explored in the script. There was also a bit of British humor which helped elevate some of the potentially awkward moments and silences in the British Museum. Although some of the characters die, most of them tragic, there isn’t much violence or gore in this play. It’s definitely worth watching for the comedy and the production’s effective technical elements. It’s still a gothic play, since the mummy remains menacing as the proceeding events build the suspense.
The cobwebs and dust were great on stage when the archaeologists enter the tomb. Using smoke for the dust did wonders for the Egyptian setting. The music and sound effects improved action and helped with foreshadowing. It was good decision to have voice-over during the setting change and near the end of the play. The voice-overs worked well in advancing the narrative and offstage events (Clare Waldren). The scene change between Egypt to the British Museum was snappy. The lighting choices were clever, specifically having the lights flicker at key moments and using flashing side lights to represent the press.
Tay Broadley’s (Charlie Cameron) nonverbals were spot on and used to great comedic effect. Timothy Brain’s (John Waldren) Irish accent was consistent and his characterization was precise. Besides acting in the play, Tim also wrote the script and directed The Mummy Rises. Andrew David (Alfred Bray) was convincing in both his relationship with Clare and acting through his character’s affliction after what occurred in Egypt. Andrew Dawson (Mummy/Artek Bay) was quite menacing as the mummy, creeping across the stage as he stalked the archaeologists. Kudos for having to stay in the coffin for so long! Lord Howard Preston (Dean Lovatt) was the financial supporter of the expedition and in his quest for profit and gratitude, he steps over other’s feet to achieve. His wife is the one he relieves his frustration on and karma has it way of “boomeranging”. Lovatt did great in playing his character as the semi-villain and aristocrat.
Christie Strauss (Clare Waldren) was one of the many highlights of the play with her striking performance as the female heroine, Clare Waldren. As a career-driven archaeologist, her interactions with Alfred were sweet, yet highly confident. Her character was strong and went against traditional gender roles, most notably in her dialogue. Kate Willoughby (Maisie Dalrymple) was the museum’s librarian and she played a vital role in the final fight scene. She did well in creating the character and experimenting with the librarian caricature and British humor, in dialogue and non-verbally.
Abbey McCaughan’s (Cora Shakley) chosen accent did wonders for her character. Her decisions in interacting with Maisie and Clare on stage helped convey their friendships. Bella Doyle (Abrar Ali) was surprising whenever she appeared on stage. Doyle’s accent and character’s background were possibly researched to be accurate, as her portrayal was very believable. Her role in the play was vitally interlinked with the progression of events both on stage and offstage. Anna Weir’s (Lady Harriet Preston) character was portrayed as brave, superstitious and strong-willed. Lady Harriet’s relationship with her husband, Lord Preston was tense due to her believing in superstitions and him being violent in their marriage. Weir had a strong stage presence and her interactions with Lord Preston were quite heartbreaking.
Overall, I have greatly enjoyed both of the Gothic plays I have seen so far with the acting, set design and technical elements all impressive. Next up comes Frankenstein! The very last in the trio of Gothic stories that have been brought to the stage.