Reviewed by Nigel Chester
The Theatre Royal Nottingham is one of the premier theatres within the East Midlands and it is always a joy to be there, with its buzzing atmosphere and friendly welcome. We have never had an issue with parking and the tram stop next to the theatre provides easy public transport.
So, what can you expect from the Theatre Royal when you arrive beyond its warm and welcoming atmosphere? A world class theatre production.
Currently showing is a re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, first written in 1897, but brought bang up to date, in this adaptation written by Jenny King.
The Victorians were obsessed with life and death and Stoker’s research of progress in medicine, coma patients appearing to return from the dead, combine with eastern European folklore, led Stoker to fashion the ultimate Gothic horror novel, and Dracula was born, to be feared by so many audiences over the last century or so.
The Touring Consortium Theatre Company should be exceptionally proud of their achievements, the staging was pure theatre, it was fully immersive and all our senses were challenged throughout the two hours we were there. This was magic and illusion at it’s best, however, the story was strong, and the acting by this top quality theatre company made all our characters real, and the vulnerability of Lucy (Jessica Webber) made me want to rush and rescue her. The beloved characters were all there, Professor Van Helsing (Phillip Brotherton) was complex and at times, funny. The tension in the audience was palpable and a laugh, even at the darkest moment, could relieve our anxiety.
Doctor Seward’s (Evan Milton) star lunatic, Renfield, became for this adaptation, Lady Renfield, brought to us by the critically acclaimed Cheryl Campbell; her performance was breathtaking and I must admit that I was quite pleased that she never got the kitten!
We were transported from Whitby to Transylvania via Budapest using amazing columned sets, very little changed but everything changed, however, we were never in any doubt about where we were, the Whitby coast on the night of the shipwreck, was outstanding.
The illusionist for this production, Ben Hart has my utmost praise (the cleaners may not agree) as does Cleo Pettitt for the costume designs.
This Dracula was as brilliant as it was brutal.
Tickets cost from £14 to £31.50 (booking fees may apply).
Dracula is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 9-13 October 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND