Reviewed by Ann Durrell
Exeter base company Le Navet Bete bring their own hilarious take on the classic tale of Count Dracula with Dracula: The Bloody Truth at The Lowry in Manchester on 13 May 2017. Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Nick Bunt) is more than slightly put out by Bram Stoker’s version of the events as portrayed in his infamous novel. In order to set the record straight, he has gathered a cast of three actors (Al Dunn, Dan Bianchi and Matt Freeman) to put together a play, to educate the audience in the truth behind what really happened, and a warning. In his eyes this is not a play, more like a public service announcement.
Enter Van Helsing, and from the outset it is clear that this is not really going to be played out in the sombre and serious way that Van Helsing had intended. A mad cap and slapstick comedy with echoes of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, I don’t think I stopped laughing from the moment the first line was delivered. It has just the right mix of classic slapstick, clever word play and generally silliness to have you laughing all the way home. I admit, I am a big kid and Van Helsing’s pronunciation of ‘sheet’ along with a cast delivery of ‘kin hell’ had me giggling away!
The set is a rickety old theatre, filled with Van Helsing’s own furniture apparently, it looks like it’s on its last legs, and as we find out it is, further adding to the comedy. There is even a smattering of audience participation where ‘David’ was enlisted to help Dracula fly, then holding up the crumbling set and finally standing in for one of the cast after an ‘accident’. Nothing goes right for Van Helsing, his cast go missing during costume changes, the set collapses adding to his frustrations as this was to be a very serious warning about vampires.
The cast of four, Nick Bunt, Al Dunn, Dan Bianchi and Matt Freeman are all brilliant and have boundless energy. The audience age ranged from children up to grandparents, or as Van Helsing would describe ‘Ladies, Gentlemen and your offspring’. If you are looking for a good old laugh then Dracula: The Bloody Truth is a must see. I challenge anyone not to find it side splittingly funny.
Dracula: The Bloody Truth is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit lenavetbete.com.
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000