Dracula ★★ Richmond Theatre | March 27, 2022


In 1897, when Bram Stoker first published Dracula, he could not have imagined that his book would become as immortal as its title character. From Béla Lugosi's classic interpretation to Adam Sandler's version in Hotel Transylvania, there have been endless riffs on the text. In James Gaddas's Dracula, the conceit is that the actor, who has been hired to do a documentary about the vampire, becomes obsessed by the idea that he is real and that Stoker was forced to fictionalise his text. It is an intriguing approach that becomes somewhat confused in the presentation. The mixing of the narratives of Gaddas's purported documentary and Stoker's actual tale becomes quite confusing in the recounting. Some of the issue is Gaddas's declamatory style. The nature of the delivery left us unconvinced that Gaddas believed the story he was telling, and the speed of its exposition made it easy to become confused about the two intertwined plots. A good knowledge of Stoker's original seemed a necessity to follow what was going on. Gaddas plays all fifteen of the characters in the piece but the individuation did not always succeed, nor did the special effects. In a time when virtual reality experiences are all the rage and when we have flying cars in the theatre, audiences have come to the expect the spectacular when it comes production values. So, while there is an interesting concept behind this show, its depiction does not rate as one of the outstanding variations on the tale of terror from Transylvania. Unfortunately, it all seems rather anemic.

Rated: ★★

Reviewed by J.C.

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