Bram Stoker’s classic gothic story has been re-told countless times, but there’s no harm in a couple more versions of Dracula this Fringe. Let Them Call it Mischief stay close to the original, whilst bring the timeless tale into the modern world by packing it with references to Dirty Dancing, Destiny’s Child and Twilight. They poke fun at the typical tropes of vampires – wait you’re saying they don’t glisten in the sunlight? And who actually knows how to pronounce the word, is it wampirie?
Count Dracula, the first Romanian immigrant, comes to England to break the spell cast on him. He has until his 200th birthday to find his one true love, and he must love her equally, she also has to be wheat intolerant and be able to teach him the leg before wicket rule. But who will save Count Dracula from immortality? Will he find his true love? Or will a cross, garlic or a stake to the heart defeat him?
Rob Cummings’ portrayal is reminiscent of Dracula from the animated film Hotel Transylvania as he shuffles across the stage. He is a sensitive hero in comparison to the other men, who are sexist and chauvinistic. Even Jonathan Harker (Anthony Pinnick) who pretends to be kept at Dracula’s castle under the watch of three decrepit nuns. Sarah Bradnum takes on the role of fiancé Mina, who brings light to the sexist undertones of the novel. She seeks emancipation, but she is a woman, she better go fetch the drinks instead. Alyssa Noble plays Lucy, the independent woman, who doesn’t need no man. Graham Elwell takes on all the leftover characters, Abraham Van Helsing, Renfield and a local Whitby man eating chips and playing jokes on tourists.
Dracula is a well-written, fast-paced comedy written by Danny Wainwright and Daniel Hallissey. With only five actors to take on all the characters and three suitcases to make up most of the set, which they use as running gag throughout. They don’t require a large cast or an intricate set, when they have such tight performers that bounce off one another. In every generation there is a chosen one: this could be the freshest version of Dracula.