York Theatre Royal – 24 September 2021
Reviewed by Michelle Richardson
Le Navet Bete Theatre Company, based in Exeter, are back in York again and are playing a few shows at the York Theatre Royal, this time with Dracula: The Bloody Truth. I was lucky enough to catch them in York last year with another production, a month before our very first lockdown, and I was looking forward to their return.
Directed by John Nicholson, with only four actors, Dan Bianchi, Nick Bunt, Al Dunn and Matt Freeman, playing forty characters, Dracula: The Bloody Truth is the story how Dracula is real and not fiction, as Bram Stoker would have you believe.
Professor Van Helsing employs three idiotic amateur actors to recreate his story and for once and for all, the truth will prevail and “The Bloody Truth” will come out. We are taken on a journey across Europe, from Transylvania to the gothic seaside town of Whitby, which is just up the road from us.
The set was dated, with a faded curtain, dodgy brickwork and battered doors, creating the perfect backdrop, and was used to great comedic effect. It was full of chaotic costumes changes, delayed sound effects and collapsing scenery. The latter was executed with terrific humour and ingenuity and “fixed” with the same amount of hilarity. Unexpected uses of props, some which were faulty, just cemented the madness of the show. The play is full of slapstick, cheesy jokes and there are mishaps and mistakes aplenty, but are they really mistakes or part of the show?
This physical comedy theatre company has been performing together since 2008 and you can tell. They have great chemistry and bounce off each other, playing on their separate strengths. All four brought energy to their characters, with some dynamic portrayals and great use of the audience, especially one unfortunate/fortunate member, depending on how you look at it.
Le Nevet Bete translates to The Dumb Turnip, but this troupe are anything but and have delivered another rip roaring, madcap and hilarious show, a perfect antidote as the nights draw in. Thoroughly entertaining and highly recommended to watch, if given the chance!