Push to Shove Theatre Company have devised a simplified version of Dracula giving it the justice it deserves without taking anything away from Bram Stoker’s original concept. Through movement alone they have managed to breathe life into the timeless classic ready for a modern audience to explore its darker meaning of seductive possession.

A show you can really sink your teeth into.

We follow Jonathan Harker as he leaves his fiancée Mina to do business in Transylvania. Once arrived, Harker slowly begins to realise that his new client may not be interested in business at all. Through beautifully portrayed movement sequences we witness Harker sink slowly into madness as a result of the menacing powers of the prince of darkness, Count Dracula. Quickly returning home Harker hopes for a safe haven, but the Count is never far away and is soon drawn to Harker’s bride to be, Mina. Through the use of lighting and excellent movement skill we follow the characters through a timeless battle of good vs evil.

Mark McCredie’s Dracula is both haunting and deadly seductive. He walks with such power and dominance that watching is like being in a trance. McCredie gives this infamous character the justice he truly deserves, a flair that’s not quite from this world. He is backed up by his bride (Laura Baillie) who is so fluid and ghostly in her movement yet like a lioness ready to pounce at any moment. Jonathan Harker (Simon Panayi) portrays an agonising transition as we watch this fearfully timid human descend into madness. His uncontrolled impulses and twitches tell us he is going through a mental and emotional breakdown due to Dracula’s control. Mina (Stephanie Newell) and her friend Lucy (Alice Saxton) also go through the rapture of Dracula’s fangs. Both girls go through slightly different experiences. Playful Lucy completely submits to the powers of Dracula while Mina seems to have a higher intelligence of what’s happening to her.

The piece is tactfully enhanced by the use of lighting. In a sequence where Harker first encounters the vampires the only light visible is from a lantern. This creates a very uncertain and uncomfortable atmosphere as we see figures moving around the stage but can’t quite see who they might be. As the vampires appear the light hits off their faces perfectly giving them the appearance of stepping right out of the black and white film. A vision that is deliciously torturous.

The relationship between Harker and Mina was almost believable but didn’t quite have the heart breaking passion of two lovers having to part. A sneaky stage kiss or two might be the answer. Although they can’t speak words of love we need to see it in their eyes. Overall, the cast speak volumes without saying a word. This tale successfully explores the themes of possession and the inner fight against evil that any classic horror fan won’t want to miss. A show you can really sink your teeth into.

Reviews by Miss Ashleigh More

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The Blurb

Jonathan Harker is imprisoned by the purest evil, a silent seductive predator watching his every move. The shadows of women, tormented beyond recognition, await one more taste of the living. As Harker falls into the depths of temptation, the mysterious disappearance of his dearest Mina begins to unravel. There can be no redemption for Jonathan, no hope for Mina, while the Count draws near. With stunning physicality, Push to Shove’s wordless adaptation exposes the darkest desires of Dracula’s world.

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