The new play “Mummy Dearest” is a celebration of everything horrifying. It is a comedic tribute to the B-horror movies everyone knows (and some love) written by Bozeman resident Ryan Cassavaugh. As he wrote in the playbill, Cassavaugh grew up “devouring” bad horror films and fell in love with their flawed-yet-passionate charm. His tribute to those films captures their essence of playful, creative and imperfect entertainment.
“Mummy Dearest” is a classic mummy story about an archeologist, a journalist, a government worker and a fumbling academic who, after many hurdles, reach their long awaited destination: the Tomb of Amenhotep. However, the tomb contains more than they bargained for. Their native guide tells them they are all doomed, recounting the tragic tale of the ancient King Amenhotep, but they do not heed his warnings and, as in any good B-horror movie, get themselves into a pickle. It would be a crime to say any more, but the plot is quirky and it has a pleasant, unexpected twist.
Puppets are the key element that elevate this parody to perfection. Each actor is attached to a life-sized puppet and speak while acting through them. Even though this uncommon technique may sound unappealing, it is rather well done. The puppets look as though they would be cumbersome, but the actors work with them in a way that adds to the comedic effect. After all, a puppet’s gaping mouth and large eyes are more exaggeratedly expressive (especially in a play) than a human face ever could be. This unusual addition takes a little getting used to if you have never seen it done before, but carries the parody to the next level.
The pseudo-narrator, Morgana, and anecdotal scene changes add the finishing touches, tipping the balance between drama and comedy. They are part of the concept; the play is like a TV show. The scene changes are disguised as outrageous television commercials and the TV show host, Morgana, pokes fun at the play she is (unknowingly) a part of while adding a healthy dose of sexual innuendos to the otherwise fairly family-friendly environment.
Unfortunately, there are only two more days of this Bozeman original left. “Mummy Dearest” is showing at the Verge Theatre on 7th Avenue this Friday and Saturday, this being its closing weekend. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended. You can book seats by calling 406-587-0737 or visiting www.equinoxtheatre.com. Tickets cost $12 for general admission and $10 for students.