Images by Dylan Evans
The first ever school production I was involved in back in highschool was some sort of comedic, musical interpretation of Dracula. I don’t remember all that much about it, other than I had a major crush on the lead, and that on the opening night one of the crew knocked over a glass vase during a scene change and
the stage was littered with broken glass for the rest of the show. Our amateurish highschool production didn’t really do Bram Stoker’s classic justice… But, thankfully, Shake & Stir‘s adaptation goes there and beyond. Dramatic, dark and tense, it’s all you could want from a Dracula performance.
Growing up in the age of fiction like Twilight, the concept of vampires never really frightened me. However, Shake & Stir‘s Dracula is both thrilling and a little bit scary. I found myself jumping and shrieking at the strategically placed claps of thunder, along with the rest of audience at opening night, palms clenched and sweating. Even the sometimes long scenes of dialogue couldn’t interrupt the brilliant staging and pacing of what was ultimately a thriller. If I had to pick out one major strength of the production, it would be the instinctive staging, design and choreography – scary is VERY difficult to do well on the stage. The few comic lines delivered by Professor Van Helsing (David Whitney), however, provided some (much needed for my poor racing heart) respite from the otherwise tense tale, as the almost 2 hour long production includes no interval. Real and gory, sensual and sexual, and very much true to the original Dracula – this play is NOT for kids.
Dracula is playing at the Canberra Theatre Centre until the 29th April 2017. Tickets are available from $45 at www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au.
*I attended the opening night as a guest of the Canberra Theatre Centre