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Dracula at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre

Published by: Edmée Sierts on 13th Feb 2015 | View all blogs by Edmée Sierts

Until mid-March, the Lion & Unicorn Theatre are running a production of a play based on Bram Stoker's famous Gothic novel. This being a well-known story, I was curious to see what this particular production was going to be like.

Cristinel Hogas as Dracula. Photo taken by Michael Brydon/Evcol.The story goes as follows: Jonathan Harker (Mark Lawson), a junior solicitor at a law firm, is sent off to Transylvania to finish up what appears to be some very simple proceedings with one count Dracula (Cristinel Hogas), who wishes to purchase some estate in London. The previous solicitor in charge of the case, one Mr Renflied (Grant Leat), has apparently gone a bit batty, and is currently residing in a mental institution run by Dr John Seward (Geoffrey Grant). Once he's arrived, Jonathan starts noticing some strange things. The count takes a fancy to Jon's fiancé, Mina Harker (Josephine Rattigan), who he considers to be some sort of reincarnation of his murdered wife. Jon ends up a prisoner in the castle, while the count travels to London. The count feeds on Mina's best friend, Lucy (Connie Jackson), about to be married to Arthur Holmwood (Anthony Matteo) and turns her into a vampire. Van Helsing (Mitch Howell), a Dutch doctor, enters the story a bit before that, and convinces everyone that Dracula is an evil vampire who needs to die. He uses Mina as bait to lure the count, and when he kidnaps her they follow him to Transylvania to kill him. It's a bit chaotic to explain in a short paragraph, but I assume that anyone who is not familiar with the story is probably not reading this. They will be in a cave somewhere, covered in animal furs and poking the ground with a stick.

The production itself is not bad. Never quite being drawn into the action, I had a difficult time being too enthusiastic about it, though. Luckily, the actors made up for that by being enthusiastic themselves. The actual set did not change throughout the entire play, and all the changes in scenery were made by changes in the light and audio landscape, which was for the most part effective enough. Initially, the pacing was good. Jonathan's journey to castle Dracula was quite quickly dealt with. Lucy's journey into death, however, took a bit too long for my taste. I also wondered if this show wanted to be taken seriously or not. It was a case of too comedic to be a drama but too serious to be a comedy. On the one hand, they kept the “creatures of the night” line, but not the hilariously over the top “I never drink... wine”, even though the stage is set for it and anyone with any knowledge of past productions of Dracula would probably be expecting it. On a pleasant note: it was nice to see a Van Helsing who is actually Dutch for once, and also using the occasional Dutch phrase. This is not an easy feat, so I'd like to commend Mitch Howell on doing a decent job of it. Renfield, too, was a pleasure to watch, although he is still the last man on earth I'd ever entrust a kitten to. 

To find out more about the production and how to get tickets, please visit the website over at http://www.lionandunicorntheatre.com/dracula.php.

(Photo by Michael Brydon/Evcol)

Comments

2 Comments

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Edmee. Just thought I'd come out from under my cave dwelling furs long enough to commend you on your review. Now, if you don't mind I'd like to go back to poking the ground with my stick ... lol
  • Edmée Sierts
    by Edmée Sierts 2 years ago
    Oh hey, Cameron. Welcome to the internet! Do you need a guide, what with you being new and all?
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