Reviewer's Rating

Dracula, but not quite as you know it.

“Nosferatu” combines gripping story-telling, fantastic acting, imaginative puppetry and decors, as well as dramatic lighting.

The show tells the story of a young lawyer named Hutter and his travelling from his small Austrian home-town of Viborg to the Carpatians mountains in the infamous region of Transylvania, inhabited by vampires, ghosts, wolfs, and bandits. Hutter’saim is to close a sale for a gorgeous house which his wife Helen and himself wish to buy, except the seller is the Count Orlock, who is Dracula himself! During his travels, Hutter encounters lots of nasty surprises and bad omens, which make the journey full of thrilling adventures for the audience. He finally reaches the castle where the Count Orlock welcomes him, albeit in his own very special way, and that is when the story starts being scary, but also very funny too.

The audience is invited to enter an altogether very different world of horror, but also humour and sheer inventiveness. The French theatre-makers Bob Theatre have pushed the idea of light and shadow of this traditional tale to its most extreme limits: while the lighting is together dramatic and vibrantly colourful, the characters in the story are actual puppets made out of light bulbs. The making of the puppets is not only very ingenious, but some are also beautifully crafted, such as a horse carriage and a boat made out of felt through the port-holes of which one can witness the humoristic disappearance of its crew. The show also makes an imaginative use of a variety of electric equipment, such as vintage coffee grinders and hoovers.

The play is set into the historical and geographical context of the story, so the spectators learn about the invasion of the plague in the 19th century, its symptoms and overwhelming devastation, and the itinerary of Hutter through an inventive table-clothe which unfolds onto the stage, revealing mountains and peaks. The music adds to the intense feeling of expectancy and suspense of the play, combining haunting cello composition and fairground music.

The actors enact the story through the puppets with contagious enthusiasm, a great variety of facial expressions and characters, including Hutter and Helen, Dracula, the doctor, the mayor, the inn-keeper, and the sailing crew. While using an imaginary book on vampires to tell the story throughout the play, they have created the scenario and the props themselves, and it shows, as the story and the objects are very well integrated with each other. As such, it requires the imagination of its audience to run wild, and it does, for both adults and children.

Let us hope that the Bob Theatre company will be invited again at the Unicorn Theatre very soon, as it is children (and adults) theatre at its very best.