A2 Pulp: The Penny Seats “The Mummy Queen” is a proper spooky London tale
ANN ARBOR, MI–There is a long list of plays and musicals that deal with monsters such as vampires, witches, and Frankenstein. Mummies, however, are scarcely represented on stage.
Michael Alan Herman’s The Mummy Queen fills that void, and its world premiere run this month by The Penny Seats Theatre Company is quick, witty, and filled with great storytelling. It’s perfect for the Halloween season, but it also tackles the ever-present issue of gender roles, and what (or who) men feel entitled to.
Set in Notting Hill, London, during the 1890s, the show opens with a lengthy monologue from Abel Trelawny—played by the captivating Matthew Cameron—an Egyptologist who has gone on a mission to find the long-lost resting place of Queen Tara. Trelawny tells the epic tale of how he found the queen, brought her back to London, and now has her coffin sitting in his study. While the speech is long, and all told from a past-tense narrative, Cameron does a wonderful job of keeping the audience engaged and wanting more. At the end of his diatribe, he goes to open the coffin and is attacked by an invisible force. He runs off stage, and now we are caught up to speed and in the present day.
We learn that Trelawny attacked himself, sawing at his wrist, and is in a medically induced stupor. An investigation ensues, and this is where we get to meet the rest of the cast. There is Margaret Trelawny, his daughter, whose only concern is the well-being of her father and how to set things right. Allison Megroet plays Margaret with determination, tenderness, and a heightened level of acting that reminds us how dire the situation is. We also meet Mrs. Grant (Julia Garlotte), who runs the waitstaff of the estate. Mrs. Grant keeps us grounded in realism, and her practicality helps the play not be too fantastical.