August 19-21, 26-28
Pleasance Courtyard, Venue 33
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
Although the story of Dracula is well known as a classic nineteenth century tale, it begs to be ripped apart in the name of comedy and farce. The tiny ice smoke filled room set a scene that could have been meant for a serious production. This gave the play credit from then start. If you have ever seen the Frances Ford Coppola movie or read the original Bram Stoker’s tale, you would have enjoyed seeing this play come to life as it followed the original story-line faithfully. As a farce, this close following of the original was done through sly and witty remarks and the jokes they employed to give the scenes teeth, no pun intended. However, a slower pace to give a little more time to relish more of the characters and gags would have been welcome. The actors play different characters and were in various scenes put together to tell the story of foggy train journeys (using dry ice) scenes that suit the obvious dark side of the vampire tale. Dracula (played by Rob Cummings) appeared on stage (on the same level as the audience) and his was a sign that comedy was in the air.
More fast action featured great and minimal use of props and lighting to provide loud and brash outbursts alternating with quieter moments of reading letters. In the scenes where Mina (played by Sarah Bradnum) and Lucy (played by Alyssa Noble) talk together about their future. They helped turn the action around with very witty jokes in their dialogue. The ruckus side of the play has these actors playing double roles as who and who? adding to the comedy. Van Helsing, Dracula’s nemesis, was played by Graham Elwell whose portrayal of the insane Renfield was a joy to behold and to be relished. Rob Cummings also doubles up as Dr Seward who was one of Lucy’s potential partners.
There were moments of real hilarity especially when the play flipped from the comic to the darkness the play was based on. There was even more to enjoy when the story took a new direction poking fun at vampire lovers who are turned with ease into something we should all be laughing at. But it was mainly the light-hearted manner that gave the play its charm as it set the audience off into fits of giggling throughout. The fast-acting flow left no time for thought or reflection as the scenes leapt from one scene to another with a mysterious door being pivotal to each, being used in a house, on a train and in an asylum. In fact the door was a silent joke and developed into a character to become a central part of each scene. Societal jokes, plunging deliveries, what the matter Dracula, grow up!
Reviewer : Daniel Donnelly