Is your knowledge of Dracula limited to the cartoon iterations that you find around the end of October? Then you might need to read up on your Bram Stoker before attempting this rather muddled production from The Playhouse.
I must admit to not being the most familiar with the details of the original novel, but with this being a Spoof, I went in with an open mind. And found myself mostly confused.
The gist, as I understand it, is that a collection of the upper echelons of society have gathered together under Sir Simon Smee (Simon Rye)’s direction to perform their interpretation of the classic novel – Dracula. But there has been a last minute change to the cast, and now the mysterious Count Addar Alucard has kindly stepped up to take on the title role…
We are whisked off with Harker (as played by Sir Simon Smee, who in turn is being played by… you get the idea) to the icy depths of Transylvania (where vampires look an awful lot like Werewolves apparently.)
From there, I fear, I was a bit lost.
There is some strong work here – Adrian Wyman, as always, garnering some serious belly laughs as Dracula’s put-upon manservant Clov, and Kevin Pinks‘ choice of accent cutting through the clipped English of the majority of the cast provided plenty of comic relief.
Count Addar Alucard aka Count Dracula, played by Addar Siedlecki, straddles the line between comedy and serious acting, which sadly, although proving Siedlecki’s talent and stage presence, only served to muddle proceedings even further.
There were some gems of lines throughout, and I think with perhaps more time to streamline the show and work through the (at times very) clunky stage management, this could be a really enjoyable production. The show was its best at its most simple – the audience interaction was funny, and the cast seemed to be most comfortable when they could step away from the script.
Dracula has a talented cast of amateur actors who have not been given the time, nor the material, here to shine. It had glimmers of potential but sadly failed to draw blood.
Dracula or A Pain In The Neck runs at The Playhouse until Saturday 9th December 2017. Visit The Playhouse website for more details.
Rebecca is a theatre lover originally from Birmingham. She founded On Stage Northants in 2017, and is passionate about promoting Northampton performing arts. Can usually be found behind the scenes, and occasionally in front of them too. Bec also runs Rebel Peacock Creative Media.