House of Dracula

House of Dracula
By Martin Downing. Garrick Theatre Guildford, WA. Directed by Fred Petersen, Nov 29-Dec 15, 2018.

House of Dracula, billed as “A Monster Hit”, is a romp of a show that gathers your favourite characters from gothic literature in an unlikely situation and ties it all together with a collection of campy hijinks and gags.

Clearly a sequel show, House of Dracula is a sequel to House of Frankenstein. which has not been recently performed by Garrick Theatre. Some of the gags play a little awkwardly to a 2018 Australian audience, with some jokes being decidedly British, and others (written when Prince Charles was married to Princess Diana) clearly dated, but the cast are 100% committed and almost embrace the many foibles. There are also some moments that are great fun.

This is a good cast. Host couple, the young Countess and Count Dracula, who are not talking to each other, are played with elegance and power by Rhiannon Cary and Thomas McCracken. Baron and Baroness Von Frankenstein are played with lovely broad-stroke characterisations by Alan Shaw and Colleen Bradford. Karen Woodcock and Ray Egan have a lot of fun, bouncing nicely off each other as Frau Lurker and Ygor. Lucia Mitchell looks great and brings passion to Isabel Channing. William Darlington is strong as Harry Talbot. Steve Maloney, is a “believable” Groat the Zombie. Fiona Forster brings lovely comedy to vampire Ethel.

James Nailen, returning to the stage after a 30 year absence, delivers a well drawn performance as the Doctor. Dorian Kurtovic gives his all to the thankless role of Ka-Seet, a Mummy, and Kathleen Myland nicely rounds out the cast, of 13.

Fred Petersen’s set design nicely conjures a Transylvanian Castle, with some quirky attention to detail that is a delight.  Geoff Holt’s bold lighting, sound  and effects are strong and are key to creating the atmosphere of the show.

In lesser hands, this script may be appalling, but with keen direction, strong technical support and a very dedicated cast, it plays well. Great for lovers of the horror genre who want a night to relax.

Kimberley Shaw

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.