REVIEW: A gothic theatre play to sink your fangs into

By Rachael Grealish

Dracula's Ghost PROMO

Dracula’s Ghost PROMO

IT was a performance to sink your teeth into – Dracula’s Ghost captivated the Egremont audience with a night of Gothic theatre.

The intimate space of Florence Arts Centre, in Egremont, on Saturday night had the essence of black magic with vampire paraphernalia, skulls, maps and screens as it was transformed into the Victorian home of Florence Stoker.

Jonathan Goodwin of the “Don’t Go into the Cellar” Theatre Company wrote and admirably co-performed the original play with fellow actor Amy Bullock.

The play gives the audience an insight into the background of the Bram Stoker classic as it allows Count Dracula to tell his own story throughout history in a series of flashbacks.

The play opens with Florence Stoker (Bullock) – the widow of Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula – having a meeting with Mr Leech (Goodwin).

The audience is given some insight into Leech’s true nature when he startles Mrs Stoker, because she does not see his reflection in a mirror – it then soon becomes obvious he is in fact Count Dracula and he never died like everyone thought he had.

Dracula had been close with Bram and now looks after Mrs Stoker.

As the storyline develops we learn much about the Count, from his dealing with characters from Jack the Ripper to Dorian Gray, to more modern characters – and even mentioning, and poking fun at, the modern vampire, Twilight.

The quality of the actors’ performance was fantastic – Goodwin is perfectly suited to this type of Gothic role with an imposing stage presence and spindly fingers, perfectly cast in the long shadows that the lighting provided.

His overall performance was both charming and terrifying – and with just a twinge of a Transylvanian accent it wasn’t overkill.

Bullock showed impeccable talent not only playing the role of Mrs Stoker, but taking on all the parts mentioned during Dracula’s flashbacks, such as Jack the Ripper and an Indian Goddess.

The ending played well as Mrs Stoker passed away and Dracula explained his intentions to take down the Nazis, finishing with a dramatic monologue – however I feel the audience was let down as after the blackout the play continued for one more scene, which I don’t think was needed.

This was a show that kept the audience interested throughout, with enough shocks and surprises to keep the audience on their toes.

Talking about the venue and the show, Goodwin said: “Florence Arts is a smashing venue. The audience was warm and responsive, and the show worked really well in such an intimate performance space.  We are already looking forward to Ghost Stories for Christmas in December.”