A tremendous beginning saw strobe lighting break the pitch darkness, while perfectly choreographed acting and dancing stoked the horror on cue and a terrifying soundtrack boomed in the background. The beginning marked everything good that was to come from director Eduard Lewis’ show. It started with a bang and barely let up from there.
The adaptation stayed largely true to the novel, with some scenes set in hindsight and others embellished, and with a script as strong as they had, it’s hard to go wrong.
The scenery too was sensational. Welcoming home turned into haunted castle turned into city street in no time at all. It really was quite miraculous and added a lot to the production.
Andrew Horton’s Jonathan Harker was the star of the show as far as the casting went, looking brave, frightened, composed or shell-shocked as required. Evan Milton was also notable as Doctor Seward and Olivia Swann’s Mina Murray was compelling throughout.
Glen Fox’s Count Dracula was daunting and cut a formidable figure, but the accent felt a little overly stereotypically Eastern European, as was the case with Philip Bretherton’s crazy professor Van Helsing, bringing an almost parodying feel to certain scenes.
Where the play did excel in fighting terms was when the vixens were involved - possessed or vampiric men and women in service of Count Dracula attacking Harkin under the strobe light in a manner that seemed half-dance, half-acting was a truly remarkable watch.
A good horror at the theatre has to make use of every medium available to it - the sound, the visuals, the space, the sense that the audience is trapped in their seat and therefore somehow vulnerable, and capitalise on the energy of the room, and Dracula at the King’s Theatre excelled here. It put the space to really great use.
If our criticisms of the fighting seems harsh, it’s only because it failed to live up to the near flawless showcase going on elsewhere on stage. A really entertaining night at the theatre, and one which produced more than a few audible screams from the crowd.