The Mummy is a fast-paced and wordy comedy. Echoing Bram Stoker’s novel ‘The Jewel of the Seven Stars’ this mirrors the plot in the respect of the Explorers’ fascination with Egyptology and the reviving of an Egyptian Queen.
The Hero of the tale called Ross (Jason Durr) is in love with Margaret (Susie Amy), but she is evasive and a little tricky. Her father, Egyptologist Trelawny (Denis Lill) is cursed after receiving a package at his Cornish home- delivered by a strange man on a stormy night. The two love birds, along with a recovered Trelawny and his exploring chum, Corbeck (David Partridge) as well as Inspector Doolan (Andrew Bone) set off to raid a tomb, but on the way they have to contend with the undead and undying Sosra (Dean Rehman).
The humour is dead pan, played out deliberately with a style of forced intensity with gags interweaving. The shadow puppetry at the beginning sets the scene and covers a back story designed to fit the budget (for laughs). And the first 10 minutes or so, as well as the use of stage props throughout, turns out to be the funniest thing about this show.
This is on main stage, but it is not a main stage production. It is hard to identify why The Mummy is not eye wateringly funny. It should be. It could be down to the script, but I feel that it is giving enough to allow for the theatrics to take it on, but, unfortunately, with the exception of the comedy performances, this is greatly overshadowed by productions like The 39 steps.
I had seen the rehearsal pics and I am sure preparing for this show has been a hoot for all involved. Not meaning to undermine the hard work behind this production and the professionalism of the ensemble cast, but the result here is quite bland for all of that effort. I like daft humour, BUT (and this is mainly because of the pre show online promotion activities going on) I was expecting something better. Director, Joe Harmston did say if you like Morecambe and Wise you’ll love this. Listen to that advice, everyone to their own, if you are a fan of sketch shows from the 1970s and corny jokes then you will be entertained.
Review by Debra Hall – after attending the press night showing of The Mummy at The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry on Tuesday 25 March 2014