B-movies typically have negative connotations. Their low budget position means that they can’t build the best sets, or hire the best actors. Even camera quality can be questionable. Every so often, however, there are B-pictures that rise above their budgets with talent or ingenuity. Films like Stuart Gordon’s
This is a comedy horror musical with a bite that’ll leave you breathless.
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room tells the age-old story of a doctor who desperately wants to become a vampire, much to the chagrin of the patients he never sees. He believes that the NHS is secretly a cabal of vampires and awaits the arrival of the Vampire Lord to bestow upon him the dark gift. Joe McArdle, as Doctor BLOOM!, is a phenomenal improvisational comic who somehow manages to mix his ad-libbing into the script with total fluidity. He stands atop a cast of talented performers who each make sure they have their moment to shine. Sarah McGuinness as the flirtatious secretary has the quote of the play with “musical mansplaining”, but this is a supremely quotable show in any case. “I’m another crying woman” and “Put the FUN in funeral” are notable highlights.
When a woman in the waiting room cries that her lover can’t die, Doctor BLOOM! assumes that this must be because the paralysed (and handsome) young man must be a member of the undead, leading into a whirl of absurdity as he plans to use this questionable “vampire lord” as a means towards achieving his dark dreams. Throw a priest, a femme-fatale and a mysterious stranger into the mix and you have a plot that consists mainly of performers making each other laugh as much as the audience. It’s appropriate that a show about vampires involves a lot of corpsing.
It’s easy when reviewing comedies to forget about the music, so it’s important to note that the singing in this is really f*****g good. Ellie Sager as Jennifer the Sexy Nurse is mocked for getting too soulful, but the notes she hits are extraordinary. Sager has great comedic timing, but her talent as a singer elevates her performance even above McArdle’s. The title number is a tune, and Love Is Like A Car Crash sparkles with great lyrics comparing horrific injuries to romance. There isn’t a bad voice amongst the cast, which is particularly impressive when considering that most of the actors are clearly more comic than musical.
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room is a B-musical in the best sense of the term. It’s unhindered by mainstream sensibilities; and accomplished in all the ways that matter. Its songs stick in your head like a stake to the heart, and its comedy overpowers like a crucifix on a vampire’s face.