Note: This review is from the 2023 Fringe

Vampires? Science Fiction? Prejudice against viola players? Bowjangles: ‘Dracula in Space’ has it all. Yet it also has next to nothing; a bare bones stage containing only minimal set dressing, requiring heavy doses of both DIY and imagination. It is a testimony to the show’s creativity, zest, and sense of wacky adventure that it manages to conjure up so much with so little. This is yet another rousing success from the 2018 Spirit of the Fringe winners. 

Bowjangles are a little bit of everything. They are string musicians, they are comedians, and they are, by their own admission, decidedly average dancers. Perhaps thankfully then, ‘Dracula in Space’ is more than the sum of its parts. This is an infectiously funny hour of nonsense and wonder, inducing fits of giggles and choruses of cackles almost every other second. From the astounding stupidity of the premise to the genuinely brilliant instrumentation, Bowjangles play to their strengths and deliver a quite sensational performance that makes use of next to no elaborate props. A detailed doll torso and a silky wig are about as high budget as it gets. 

‘Dracula in Space’ is very meta, and this often forms the backbone of the comedy. As a sales pitch for Bowjangles’ music, all the posters in Edinburgh in August couldn’t rival the selling power of this show, and they know it. Bowjangles even throw in comments or sometimes whole musical numbers on feminism, Spotify, and even the Fringe itself. Such is the eccentric presentation that these breaks in the fourth wall never jar or feel out of place. Instead they form a seamless part of the action and lend themselves to the biggest laughs. 

When Bowjangles say that they love to play, it is so clearly about more than violins and fiddles. They mean play in the sense of going on wonderful journeys of stylistic convergence, absurd risk-taking, and comedic genius. ‘Dracula in Space’ is a wonderful game and musical extravaganza rolled into one, delivering what is surely one of the festival’s most easily enjoyed comedy offerings.

‘Dracula in Space’ runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Doonstairs at 16:30