Under the bright light of a full moon, we were drawn towards the eerie tower of The Spire, an old deconsecrated Victorian church in Kemptown that is currently playing host to one of the world’s most infamous monsters: Dracula.
This is a blockbuster spectacle that will not disappoint.
Following sell-out performances of A Christmas Carol, new Brighton based production company TRUESTORY sink their teeth into this perfectly scheduled horror classic. After all, who doesn’t want to entertained in an impressive Gothic church on a spooky October night? If the unconventional venue and the full moon hadn’t done enough already to set the scene, as soon as you enter you are greeted by creepy decorations, the desperate wailing of ‘he’s coming for you!’ and mysterious hooded figures. Thankfully, this heightened atmosphere continues throughout the show, leaving you entertained and thrilled in equal measure.
You won’t find much that is radically new in this traditional retelling. It was a clever decision to gender flip Van Helsing, helping to, if not cure, at least try and balance out the more problematic female characterisations that dog the Dracula story in the 21st century. Introducing a chanting chorus was also a smart move as they did much to help the story roll along at a rapid pace. Otherwise, TRUESTORY stick to the story you expect and leave the theatrical tricks (and treats) to the performance itself.
Atmospheric and eye-catching throughout, they use the unusual venue to their full advantage. Director Gary Sefton, assisted by Annie North, has cleverly chosen to perform in traverse. Cast members charge through aisles and the audience are never truly sure from which direction Dracula will materialise next. Somehow Sefton has found time to double up as the show’s lead and what a Dracula he is. Red-eyed and twice the height of anyone else, he dramatically stalks across the church as the ultimate menace. Like many vampire portrayals, he is intelligent and witty rather than merely brutish, making his seduction of Lucy and Mina easier to fathom.
Amongst a strong cast, Miriam Grace Edwards is a delight to watch. As the flirtatious Lucy she adds sparkle and good-natured humour and later compels when she is reborn as the undead ‘boo’ful lady’ tempting children and men to their fates. Tom Wainwright also puts in an admirable performance as the ever increasingly distressed Jonathan Harker.
With some incredibly ambitious staging that will take your breath away, this is a blockbuster spectacle that will not disappoint. Cinematic in scope, with original music and an inventive set design that doesn’t try and compete with the venue’s natural presence, there is much to enjoy and marvel at.
Luckily, there are plenty of performance dates. However, if past productions are anything to go by tickets will be snapped up quickly; several nights are already sold out. Make like a bat out of hell and guarantee your seat now - you won’t regret it.