Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic tale of the infamous Count Dracula is one that has been retold countless times, but don’t be fooled - this high-octane production by Let Them Call It Mischief is far from the chilling horror story you might expect.
if you want an evening of laugh-out-loud, thoroughly enjoyable entertainment, then this refreshingly original take on the classic is a definite winner
From the off we are treated to energetic, wonderfully exaggerated performances from a talented five-strong cast, who between them share cover all the roles, constantly running back and forth from behind a large door centre stage to make their impossibly quick changes. A particularly funny moment occurs after one of the quicker costume changes, when Graham Ewell (who gives the standout comic performance as the absurdly flamboyant Van Helsing) enters wearing a mishmash of two of his characters’ costumes. Ewell’s deliberately ambiguous and frankly terrible European accent as Van Helsing is also the source of much laughter, as is his response when questioned on its ambiguity - “Enough of this chitty chat!”
This farcical comedy seems to capitalise on every opportunity for laughs, with hilarious use of meta-referencing and breaking of the fourth wall, encouraging the audience to feel part of the action on stage. The rather limited set, featuring simply a door, is used to great effect; much like the cast, the door plays multiple parts throughout, whether it be the entrance to Dracula’s castle, Rienfield’s asylum cell, or the forbidden door from which the three female vampires (or rather, two female and one Van Helsing in drag) emerge and seduce Harker with a lap dance to Lady Marmalade, met with riotous laughter from everyone in the audience.
Writers Daniel Hallissey and Danny Wainwright (who also directs and plays Dracula) have written a dynamic, witty and engaging play. We fly through the narrative at breakneck speed, jumping rapidly from scene to scene, with only short pauses in the dialogue to allow for the laughter. Unfortunately the swift pace and frenzied energy did sometimes result in the odd line going unheard, and perhaps a few jokes were not allowed time to land properly, but these are very small faults in what was otherwise a masterclass in comic timing.
If you want a spine-tingling Gothic tale of vampires and curses, then this production of Dracula probably isn’t for you. But if you want an evening of laugh-out-loud, thoroughly enjoyable entertainment, then this refreshingly original take on the classic is a definite winner