Dracula: The Travesty gives a comedy take to Bram Stoker's classic
If you’re looking for a family show to help celebrate Halloween, then Dracula: The Travesty is a dead cert.
This hilarious show is a parody of Bram Stoker’s original text and is packed with daft jokes, puns, dry ice and even a bit of magic. At times if feels very much like a pantomime, which is hardly surprising as Customs House panto stalwarts David Hopper and Ray Spencer are two of the three actors.
David plays Dracula, Jonathan Harker and himself; Ray plays Igor and florist turned vampire hunter Van Helsing. The excellent Sophia Catleugh plays a whole host of characters, including Mina, Lucy, three of Lucy’s suitors – and another Igor.
Their accents wander at times, but all three work incredibly hard, milk every gag and also deliver some brilliant ad libs. There is plenty of slapstick, pratfalls, some really bad jokes and some audience participation. The audience provides sound effects for one scene, while one audience member got to play a blood-splattered corpse.
Oh, and there’s a community song at one point too.
It’s all very hectic – even chaotic at times. But it is very, very funny and the audience was literally howling with laughter, and not just when they were playing wolves.
David (who also wrote extra scenes and directs) and Ray are a double act honed by years of panto, their comic timing is a joy and their delivery of one-liners a master-class. However, Sophia is never outdone, even when the other two are corpsed with laughter from a swiftly delivered ad lib. She has a great stage presence and her switching between a multitude of accents was mightily impressive.
My highlight of the show was the Brides of Drac musical number, a parody of Arthur Sullivan’s Three Little Maids from School from the Mikado, which would have had Stoker and Sullivan spinning in their graves.
The ending is a little too abrupt, but this is a wonderful comedy - definitely one you can get your teeth into.
:: Dracula: The Travesty runs until Friday November 1 at The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields, with performances at 7pm.