The House of Dracula, Chelmsford Theatre Workshop
Well, it is Halloween and All Saints Eve this week so what better way to spend a night in the Theatre than in the presence of Dracula, Baron Frankenstein, Ygor and Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde!
I love pastiche theatre and madcap comedy and this is a perfect example of both. The introduction of the characters gave us an exciting insight into the evening ahead. Terry Cramphorn as Baron Victor von Frankenstein had great stature as the Victorian gentleman and mad scientist, sadly his diction at times needed greater attention as several lines which needed a quick-fire delivery were lost in some mumbling and unclear dialogue. Playing opposite him, Hannah Burton as his wife, the Baroness Elizabeth von Frankenstein, had suitable haughtiness as well some great comic moments and they really worked well together.
Their staff played by Christine Davidson as Frau Lurker had channeled Helga of “Allo, Allo” into her outrageous Hitler loving character and complete with whip and saucy underwear making her force to reckon with. I loved it! She was paired with Martin Robinson as Ygor, the hunchback who was equally pathetic and great fun all at the same time.
Dean Hempstead as Count Dracula had all the menace and deliciously craziness required for the part while Carrie Ann Shirtcliffe was serene and spooky as Countess Ilona Dracula. There were also some great cameos from Caroline Dunsmuir as the east end Bride of Dracula and Callum Prior as Groat and Ka-Seet.
There was some brilliant delivery of ‘ham’ acting from several characters throughout the play, which just added to the overall performance of the piece and gave so many extra laughs. This is very clever directorial input by Iain Holding-Sutton as it could just be interpreted as just poor acting but it was incredibly clever.
Leanne Young as Isabel, who was the most normal of the characters tonight, was a true moaning bitch but I loved her characterisation, I was honestly not sure of her place in the piece but Leanne gave it everything and delivered a great interpretation of the character.
However, I had two favourites this evening, the first being Ben Fraser as Henry Talbot, the Wolfman, who had some lovely ‘Shaggy’ from Scooby Doo moments in his dialogue – just divine! – and I loved all the little dog related innuendos and characterisations in his performance.
The second and a true star of the night for me, was Dave Hawkes as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde who switched between the two characters and accents superbly. His timing, stage presence and characterisation were simply brilliant.
This was a fun and enjoyable evening which flew along with lots of laughs and a good dose of spook-tacular silliness. See it while the moon is full!!!