Unfortunately, I am rather a purist when it comes to lit-to-stage productions. This ‘steampunk’ adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula would be a fantastic way to redefine a different tale, but sadly it just didn’t work for this. The lead part of Dracula was played by a rather over energetic young man who spent most of the time topless and leaping distractingly around the stage with his tongue hanging out. All other cast members doubled up as musicians who punctuated the show by spontaneously busting into fits of rather loud and ill-fitting rock songs. Dracula is a quiet and creepy and gothic story, and doesn’t fit well in a Brian May We Will Rock You scenario. I’m afraid in presenting it this way the story lost it’s ability to send a chill down your spine and missed out on it’s Victorian gothic essence.
Obviously the company are well established and very well-funded, as the money that has been thrown into this project is notable considering how low budget most shows at Edinburgh are. But unfortunately big lights and a high volume does not a hit show make. In fact everything was over the top. The songs, the lighting, the goriness was all so…well, obvious. The fear factor for Dracula comes from people’s imaginations and implication, not from litres of fake blood.
Having said all this, the rest of the cast played their parts superbly well and the music itself was fantastic. The actor who played Mina Harker in particular must be praised for her beautiful singing and understated acting.
Sadly though, in a generation that’s obsessed with vampires it’s going to be difficult to set yourself apart from what everyone else is pumping out. However, for this very reason you have to tread all the more carefully in order to not come across dated or hackneyed. Better luck next time Action ToThe Word.