Performed with high energy and boundless amounts of enthusiasm, Let them Call it Mischief’s irreverent and fast paced take on Bram Stoker's Gothic horror story is decent fun, if lacking in any truly stand out comedic moments.
Enough laughs to be had to recommend it to anyone interested in farce or riffs on classic literature.
Using just five actors, the piece tells the tale of Count Dracula’s attempts to find true love and lift his curse of undeath once and for all. It must be said that the performers put their all into this production as they switch, sometimes mid scene, from one character to the other at breakneck speed. The company shows a remarkable on stage chemistry as they work off each other in every scene, bringing much laughter to the audience. Every scene is filled to the brim with gags and nary a second goes by when there isn’t something happening on stage trying to make you laugh.
The script does its job in adapting the gothic tale into a one hour farce and makes some interesting changes. Dracula is portrayed as a sympathetic, misunderstood, and bumbling hero, whilst the traditional male authority figures are shown to be prejudiced, chauvinistic buffoons. These characters never feel forced and it is nice to see the production challenge the sexist undertones of the original novel. Mina Harker’s character is a standout in this regard, being reconfigured into an intelligent, witty, and resilient figure, far removed from the damsel in distress she is in the original story. This being said, the few times the play attempts to address issues of misogyny in anything remotely close to a serious manner feel incredibly forced and jarringly out of touch with the rest of the play’s tone.
In addition to this the gags on display are very hit and miss, some landing to rapturous laughter, with others creating large sections of awkward dead air. Indeed, the idea seems to be to throw every possible style of comedy at the audience to see what sticks. Humour ranged from physical comedy, wordplay to very out of place modern references, such as an impromptu musical riff on Les Miserables that left me scratching my head. Without a consistent style and feel to it, the play comes off as a random collection of skits and styles held together by the plot of Dracula.
Despite this, the show is still enjoyable and there are enough laughs to be had to recommend it to anyone interested in farce or riffs on classic literature.