Reviewed by Richard Lane
Whilst sticking closely to Bram Stoker’s novel, Liz Lochhead’s adaptation of Dracula is not as terrifying as those one remembers. The blood letting is just as copious, but the horror is less frightening.
Briefly, the story concerns a young Jonathan Harker who travels to Transylvania to do some apparently “ordinary business” with Count Dracula. His fiancée Mina and her sister Lucy follow. The Count however is much more interested in Lucy’s neck, so with the help of Professor Van Helsing Harker stops the Count from unleashing his terror.
This production directed by Kerrin White is a little disappointing inasmuch as if fails to “scare the living hell” out of this critic as exhorted by the Director. And the same appears to be true of the opening night audience, gathering from their reponses.
The open plan multi-purpose set by Vinnie Eustace works remarkably well for the amount of movement required.
Laraine Wheeler’s sombre,lighting captures the dark doings going on within. However, Hugh Hunkin’s sound effects ,designed to emphasise the bloodlust, the horror and the eroticism, were at times distracting.
As the schizophrenic Renfield, Matt Houston was the standout performer. Lucy Westerman, Lani Gerbi, was a beautiful, erotic mark for the Count and Sandy Adams as Jonathan Harker was well cast. Costumed superbly in a blood-lined cape, Robert Drusetta certainly looked the Count. Anna Bampton delighted as the ingenuous Mina. Allison Sharber was a sadistic bully as Nurse Grice, and Joshua Coldwell an excellent Arthur Seward.
Brian Knott played Professor Van Helsing with superior confidence, while Rosie Williams did well as the maid, Florrie.
The “Lunatics” were all mad enough though their screaming and hysterical laughing was somewhat overdone at times.
The rather tedious first act gave Kerrin little to work with, but the action did pick up in the second act.