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Carabosse presents Dracula. Stantonbury Theatre.

To attend a performance of Dracula on Halloween is indeed a special occasion. To do it where the audience have dressed up in ‘Victoriana’ really made it feel extra spooky.


The story opens when Johnathan (Andrew Gibbons) travels to meet Dracula and sees things that cannot be unseen. He escapes and his fiancée comes to rescue him but he is a changed man from his experiences. His fiancée, Mina (Danni Kushner) is friends with Lucy (Abigail Thorne) who writes regularly to Mina about her choice of men. Lucy flirts wildly with Dr Seward (Alexander JC Forni), Quincey (Michael Hutchinson) and Arthur Holmwood (Dennis French), that latter of whom she later marries. When Lucy becomes unwell, Dr Seward is called to help and he in turn calls Van Helsing (Debbie Leonard) to try to resolve this mystery. Dr Seward is also fascinated with his patients at his mental hospital, especially one called Renfield (Sean Calvert).


This is my first experience of a Carabosse production and I have to say I am hugely impressed. I firstly want to talk about Dracula. There are actually two Draculas which is a genius piece of direction. Both versions were exquisitely acted. There is romantic, sexy (and sometimes its quite raunchy on stage) Dracula (Jordan Murphy) which makes the 80’s goth in me want to give myself over to him. And then there is the older, scary, vulgar yet still compelling Dracula (Tim Dalgleish) who has no compassion and seems proud of his status and his reputation.


In act two Harker, Mina, Van Helsing, Seward, Quincey and Arthur make efforts to track down Dracula for the good of the world. The climax of the show is the good versus evil tale of old, and we are torn between wanting good to win and being seduced by Dracula, well at least I am. There is such a lot going on stage, it’s a detailed and complex production and you do need to pay attention to absorb it all. There are often two scenes playing out in tandem, alongside use of projection images to one side and at the backdrop to help set the scenes. It is very effective and keeps your attention. I want to give a special shout out to the inmates of the mental hospital. On stage for practically the whole show and never slipped out of character. It was mesmerising to watch.


I loved the Vampire Nation end of the story. The speech felt like we needed to save the planet for future generations but instead of discussing climate change, it was about saving and preserving the food chain for vampires. The speech was so rousing I wanted to join them. The cast are exceptional. I am blown away that we have so much talent locally and can enjoy such wonderful productions on our doorstep. This would be a sell out in any city, including Whitby. I also loved hearing Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead in the interval. The music has been really considered to that kind of detail.


It really feels immersive. I felt totally captivated by the performances and storytelling. The direction is phenomenal and I can honestly say I have not seen anything like this before. This is a classy production of a spellbinding show. Dracula is at Stantonbury Theatre until 4 November.


And don’t miss the extraordinary Dracula themed pop-up art exhibition in the bar curated by students of MK College.


Warning:

- Dracula depicts scenes of Violence and of a sexual nature. Age guidance 12+

- Please note that the show runs for two and a half hours with an interval after the first one and a half hours, so make sure you have had a toilet break before hand as you won’t want to miss any of the action.



Carabosse is a community interest theatre company founded in 2012 by Sally Luff.



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