DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Dracula: The Bloody Truth – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Reviewer: Ron Simpson

Writers: Le Navet Bete and John Nicholson

Director: Paul Robinson

Sometimes one wonders whether the current rage for things that go wrong in theatre has got a bit out of hand. Versions, very often of classic tales, where the scenery collapses, actors miss their entrances or their lines and audience members are recruited seem to proliferate over the last few years. However, when they are done with the energy and expertise ofDracula: The Bloody Truth, one is inclined to forgive much.

Dracula: The Bloody Truth, originally performed by Le Navet Bete, dates back some seven years, but, in Paul Robinson’s production, comes up with striking originality, even if sometimes the pace is, if anything, too hectic. The original idea is that Professor Van Helsing, infuriated by Bram Stoker’s fictitious version of events, decides to set the record straight and employs three actors to play the parts as he tells the real story, actually not too dissimilar from Stoker’s except for the ending.

The actors, playing multiple parts, are thoroughly incompetent, with a particular tendency to move furniture willy nilly. Poor Van Helsing panics and interferes on the side-lines, but in truth his own acting is as bad as the rest of them: his Yorkshire accent, filtered through his original Dutch, is a disaster! Just before the interval Van Helsing himself appears as a character in the story, but his triumph soon disappears as the scenery collapses, Van Helsing suffers a head wound and a member of the audience emerges as the saviour of the production.

Helen Coyston’s set lops off a quarter of the in-the-round space, leaving a splendid-looking proscenium arch (before it collapses) and a thrust stage filled with minimal furniture such as coffins and tombs and a fireplace that turns out to be a door. Wayne Parsons’ movement direction produces a show as exhausting as it is athletic and Paul Robinson ensures a plentiful supply of fingers caught in windows, settees falling apart when someone sits down, and so on.

All four actors perform admirably to sustain this manic craziness. Chris Hannon, deliciously self-satisfied at the start at Van Helsing, keeps going through the disasters with an execrable accent and just a hint of the pantomime dame’s complicity with the audience. Annie Kirkman’s Dracula, with an equally absurd accent, fights hard to keep the menace flowing while simultaneously playing one of their main pursuers. Alyce Liburd is delightfully knowing as Mina Harker while her husband is played by Killian Macardle, together with a lovely double as a skittish Lucy. As for their innumerable other parts, the motto seems to be, “Never knowingly underplayed”!

Runs until 27th July 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

Manic fun!

Show More
Photo of The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
The Reviews Hub