Churchill Theatre – 20 October 2018
Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith
Every body knows the story of Dracula, the blood drinking vampire. It is the stuff nightmares are made of, so I was looking forward to this new take on an old tale. With promises of stunning illusions and spine chilling effects, I was bracing myself for a terrifying experience.
The story opens with a bang that made me jump out of my seat, I had high hopes, then the story starts to unfold.
The opening scene sets a dark atmosphere and it feels like your watching an old black and white movie, giving that Dracula foreboding. With the young couple Jonathan Harker (Andrew Horton) and Mina Murray (Olivia Swann) saying goodbye at the railway station as he heads off to Transylvania to meet Count Dracula. We are then introduced to Lucy,(Jessica Webber), an attractive young virgin pursued by many a suitor but none of which excite her passions, until she
has dreams of a ghostly figure that comes to her in the night, Dracula. Here we see the first illusion as Dracula disappears before our eyes.
The story then moves on and we are introduced to Dr Seward, (Evan Milton), who attends the lunatics at the asylum. Lady Renfield, (Cheryl Campbell) being the prominent loon, who eats the animals in her care and Professor Van Helsing, (Phillip Bretherton) who comes to rid the world of vampires. The count himself (Glen Fox), has a formidable presence but was this just because he is a tall chap?
There were attempts to emulate some classic horror movies, The Exorcist, but it just didn’t quite hit the spot.
The ensemble of vampires appear in terrifying lighting shows with moves that any respectful zombie would be proud of.
I was left completely underwhelmed by this production. The illusions were short on the ground and the acting seemed old fashioned, with the senior actors outshining the younger members of the cast. I didn’t believe the characters and felt no compassion for they impending fate.
The set however was exceptional and I found myself looking at that moving about more than the actors themselves.