A show with some added bite

Blackeyed Theatre return to the Maltings to stage gothic horror Dracla
Blackeyed Theatre return to the Maltings to stage gothic horror Dracla

In an era when the word vampire conjures up images of a lovelorn Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Blackeyed Theatre took things back to the heart of the matter.

They brought ‘Dracula’ to The Maltings on Tuesday night for a perfect pre-Halloween spectacle.

For someone who had neither read Bram Stoker’s original book or seen any of the film adaptations I went into proceedings with a rather nervous but open mind.

And as I did when I caught Blackeyed’s ‘Teechers’ I left the theatre mightily impressed.

Yes there were plenty of the essential horror ingredients in the mix- smoke, eery music, a smattering of gore and a generous helping of suspense but Blackeyed also managed to take things down their own sinister path.

Paul Kevin-Taylor’s Count Dracula while a scary and demanding presence on stage also had a more sensual edge which helped weave the character’s unpredictable nature.

Interestingly, Paul also played Dracula’s nemesis, Van Helsing, putting him at the centre of the action at all times.

And he had an ever present supporting cast who were also there for every twist and turn the plot carved out. The blend of Victorian gothica and dark comedy brought the best out of Will Bryant, Gareth Cooper, Katrina Gibson and Rachel Winters.

Katrina’s Lucy Westenra transformed from a naive fantasist to a crazed vampire, while Will Bryant switched guises from the controlled yet troubled Jonathan Harker to the frenzied, unnerving Renfield.

Rachel’s Mina went from being on the periphery of the action to the centre of it as she became another of the count’s victims and her command of the script and crisp delivery of its words commanded the audience’s attention.

Although in a completely different vein to ‘Teechers’, ‘Dracula’ saw Blackeyed on top form once again.Spinechillingly spooktacular.