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Theatre Review: Dracula: Revamped ****

Scott Purvis reviews a production 'which is more fun than a night looking for apples'.

As a tale, Dracula has been resurrected and resurrected and resurrected - he's been vanquished so many times that fans of Jonathan Harker's stake might feel forced to become vegan. But John and James Kielty's Dracula: Revamped breaks like a new dawn on the dusty relics of Braham Stoker's old story, shining with a comic sunshine, its characters as strong as a bulb of garlic.

Yes, "A Play, a Pie and a Panto" has taken a darker road this year, flicking from the golden pages of fairy tales towards an evil tome of Gothic horror: in 2019, the puns are still bawdy but the plotline's more bloody. Expect the F word...frequently.

This is something of a Dracula sequel, imagining what might have happened to young lovers Jonathan and Mina after the fatal staking of the thirsty count. Years after the vampire has been reduced to a pile of ash - and taken up residence in a haunted Henry the Hoover - Mina finds herself once again under the influence of the vanquished vampire, drawn to Castle Dracula like a mosquito to a blood bank. Throw in a "Scare B&B" henchman named Igorette and you have an afternoon which is more fun than a night dooking for apples.

The cast are a mortuary of mirth, a lively slab of bodies which throw themselves around the stage like a Beano Halloween issue. The spritely direction by Tony Cownie pastiches every trope that make vampy, campy Hammer horror films such fun. The cast are devilish, bouncing off each other throughout and playing the audience like "Toccata and Fugue" on an old organ.

George Drennan's Dracula bites every vampire stereotype from your childhood nightmares, an angular, sexy Christopher Lee of a man who's charm and charisma would leave any widow peaked. Sharing a coffin with him is Angela Darcy's Igorette, a hilarious, damned dame who cuts her place as some Transylvanian scheme's answer to Mary Doll Nesbitt. The cast is completed by Ashley Smith and Tron panto favourite Darren Brownlie, two wholesome teens who rack up the Rocky Horror, bounding around the stage with glee before succumbing to the dark desires of Dracula.

Telling the story of one of literature's most famous monsters through comic reworkings of songs such as "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" takes a special wit, and this is one Dracula which will take your soul on a gloomy Scottish summer afternoon. If only they'd served black pudding with the pies and blood-red wine…

Runs until July 20that Oran Mor in Glasgow.

Tags: theatre

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