Jack Studio Theatre
Reviewed – 11th October 2018
“it doesn’t always feel like the comedy is intentional”
Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ is a classic horror text and Arrows & Traps Theatre present a lively and committed production of it just in time for Halloween. For those who don’t know the story, Count Dracula is a vampire who feeds off the blood of the living, a murderer and seducer who has just moved from Transylvania to London. He is pursuing Mina Murray, the fiancé of Jonathan Harker, a solicitor who has recently been to visit the Count and is now plagued with visions of terrible things. As time begins to run out, a small team led by Professor Van Helsing, must fight to stop him.
The set, designed by Francine Huin-Wah, works really well. Set over two levels, the theatre is covered in thick castle stone and hung with ropes. The multiple levels allow lots of scope for use of the staging which Ross McGregor, writer and director of the piece, uses for maximum effect. The interweaving narratives are placed alongside each other so that sinister characters lurk in corners of seemingly innocent scenes, foreshadowing what is to come.
The cast is consistently strong. Lucy Ioannou as Lucy, and Beatrice Vincent who plays Mina, are a strong and lively duo. Cornelia Baumann’s Renfield is both terrifying and moving in her performance. Christopher Tester’s Dracula is wonderfully classic, sexual and camp, dressed in the long black robes of the night.
The production does seem occasionally confused – part comic, farcical almost, part genuine horror. A particularly jarring moment of this involves a cover of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. Jump scares are followed by comic moments then another jump scare, and it doesn’t always feel like the comedy is intentional. There is a tendency at points towards melodrama but in this context the result is rather a fun one.
This is undoubtedly an entertaining and engaging evening delivered by committed and genuine performances.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
Photography by Davor Tovarlaza
Jack Studio Theatre until 27th October
Previously reviewed at this venue: