Image Credit: Action To The Word
A recommendation by Sister Morticia led me to see Action to the Word's new production, Dracula, at The Pleasance in London. It was the Edinburgh preview before it went up for the Fringe Festival during August 2014. The company, under the direction of Alexandra Spencer-Jones, is renowned for its explosive and exciting adaptations ranging from traditional classics to to new playwright works. I was especially looking forward to seeing Dracula and I was curious how they would interpret Bram Stoker's classic in their unique innovative way.
An eclectic setting of a rock/gothic concert was set in a 19th Century Royal Court where electric guitars and I pads existed. The production received a dark and Gothic interpretation by nine talented actors who doubled up as musicians. Use of physical theatre, playing of the musical instruments and singing certainly set the tone for the classic's interpretation. It is certainly felt the stage's rock/Gothic ambiance was perfect for the Gothic horror novel. The energy used told the story well and explored issues concerning supernatural, science, medicine, romance social standings, which are typical for writers to address in post Romantic literary circles. The songs were carefully chosen to fit the scenes' moods that are cleverly packed with curiousity, intrigue innocence, horror, sexual tension and longing which triggered the dark and complex strong emotions erupting into disturbing violence - physically, mentally and emotionally.
Jonno Davies played a fantastic Dracula whose determination was to seduce and have Mina at all costs. He certainly pursued this mission on a dark and bloody journey! The seductive and sexual chemistry between his Dracula and both Lucy Westenra (played by Rachel Bright) and Mina Murray (played by Olivia Bromley) movingly brought goosebumps to one! This production has told the Gothic horror so effectively that my appreciation and love for Dracula has gown twenty fold since then!
As well as Jonno Davies every member of the cast were stars of the show. As already said, Davies was the Fangstastic Dracula! Along with the ensemble of Henry Bauckham, Rachel Bright, Olivia Bromley, Adam Clifford, Henry Douthwaite, Claire Petzal, Marc Rhys and Tom Whitelock. Not forgetting the incredible creative team of Joanne Chichonska (Musical Director), Maddy Mutch (Associate Director) , Charlie Morgan-Jones and Zoe Koperski (Stage and Lighting Designer) and Patrick Gleeson's additional music. All under the director extraordinaire, Alexandra Spencer-Jones, whose ambitious production of Dracula is receiving rave reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Great work guys!