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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Dracula – The Bloody Truth AT THE OCTAGON BOLTON

 Review by Hilary Dawes

Written by Le Navet Bete and John Nicholson and directed by Paul Robinson, Dracula the Bloody Truth is a hilarious and madcap comedy retelling of the famous gothic classic.

It’s 1900.  Dracula, the best-selling novel by Bram Stoker was released three years ago and Professor Abraham Van Helsing is not happy.  He was there.  He knows The Truth. The Bloody Truth, and The Truth must come out.

Professional vampire hunter Van Helsing has gathered three totally incompetent actors to assist in relating his version of events in order to reveal the true ending to the story of the vampire who sailed from Transylvania to Whitby leaving a trail of destruction in his wake

Professor van Helsing introduces himself to the audience to explain the reasons for this performance.   He is at pains to stress that “this is not theatre”, but rather an attempt to tell the true story of what really happened to him and his friends in their encounters with Bram Stoker’s titular character, shamelessly fictionalised in the novel.


Mayhem ensues, as Van Helsing vainly endeavours to direct the inept cast, only creating more chaos along the way!  Every attempt to portray the “real” story resuts in more things going wrong!  Add into the mix unreliable props, collapsing scenery, plus lightening fast costume changes, and the result is hilarious slapstick farce, which still maintains the essence of the original novel.


Sometimes sharing characters, sometimes one actor portraying three in the same scene, each of this cast of only four deserves the highest praise, delivering at breakneck speed 40 or so characters with incredible energy, skill, and perfect comic timing, as we travel with them to Transylvania, Whitby, London and back again to illustrate Van Helsing’s extraordinary version of events.


Chris Hannon as the indefatigable Professor Van Helsing, Annie Kirkman as Dracula and Dr Seward, Alyce Liburd as Mina Murray and Holmwood, together with the superb comic skills of Killian Macardle as Jonathan Harker and the ill-fated Lucy Westenra, in addition to their countless other roles, all ensured that the pace never flagged and the laughs kept on coming!


Praise too should go to the creative team, with designer Helen Coyston, lighting designer Jane Laljee and composer and sound designer Simon Slater.  Movement and fight direction are by Wayne Parsons and Kaitlin Howard, and wardrobe supervisor is Julia Perry-Mook.


For a thoroughly entertaining and exhilarating evening, forget everything you think you know about Dracula and catch this brilliant show at the Octagon Bolton, running until 29th June. 


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