Dracula, King’s Head Theatre, review: ‘The amount of energy, fun and hilarity does credit to a performance twice as long’
PUBLISHED: 12:47 21 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:47 21 November 2016
Over-the-top Victorian melodrama with ample infusions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, scathing references to Twilight as well as lashings of Radio 4 Victorian adventure spoofs.
There is something about a five-handed cast attempting to play fifteen characters that becomes a spectator sport: will they remember who they are supposed to be and get the right moustache onto the right lip in time for the cue?
Theatre company Let Them Call It Mischief largely succeeded but when they forgot, didn’t arrive on time or the moustache actually dropped off, they had so much audience affection in the bank that it really didn’t matter.
The tale derives from the Bram Stoker 120 year old Gothic masterpiece. Writers Danny Wainwright and Daniel Hallisey have drunk deep at the neck of over-the-top Victorian melodrama with ample infusions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, scathing references to Twilight as well as lashings of Radio 4 Victorian adventure spoofs.
The King’s Head has started double-banking productions – an early one and a late evening kick off for the second. This meant that Dracula stated at 8.45 and only lasted an hour.
But the amount of energy, fun and hilarity that was packed in would have done credit to a performance twice as long.
The towering Rob Cummings as Count Dracula was an instant hit – a tad camp with a mincing gait but menacing back story, he desperately wants to break his curse by finding the love of an Englishwoman with sweaty palms and a working knowledge of the LBW law.
Graham Elwell’s Van Helsing was hilarious – his goggled-eyes and fine beard essential accoutrements for any 19th century man of science. His supervision of the staking and transfusion of Lucy (the coquettish but independent Alyssa Noble) was hilarious.
Englishman abroad Harker was instantly recognisable and his betrothed, Sarah Bradnum’s Mina, was terrific in debunking a man who delayed his return home because he was been attended to by “nuns”.
Casting, production, lighting and sound were innovative, sharp and deeply satisfying.
I’m happy to stake money that Dracula will go far!
Rating: 4/5 stars
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