Last night Dracula opened with a bang at Hull New Theatre. Terrifyingly brilliant and utterly spellbinding, this production of Dracula is a must see. Filled with spine-chilling effects and irresistible characters, their opening night was a triumph.
I have to say, arriving at Hull New Theatre with my two best friends and fellow theatre buffs we had very high expectations. This production of Bram Stocker’s Dracula adapted and written by Jenny King, is sold as the ultimate theatre experience. A multi-sensory stage adaptation that breathes life in a contemporary and visceral interpretation of Bram Stocker’s original novel. So, as you can imagine we were expecting a lot!
For those unfamiliar with Dracula, the story follows Jonathan Harker a young lawyer who travels to Transylvania to seal a deal with the mysterious and terrifying Count Dracula. As Harker becomes entrapped in Dracula’s castle, at home in Whitby, Lucy a young friend of Harker’s fiance Mina, begins experiencing unusual night terrors, finding two small puncture marks on her neck. As Lucy get more ill and her body continues to be drained of blood. Doctor Seward and Professor Van Hesling set about to discover what is happening to her, leading them to a terrifying discovery of an immortal creature…
The performances started in spectacular fashion. With a huge flash of light, shocking the audience. Suddenly the curtain was up, and Dracula was here. Instantly we were hooked, as the stage was exposed with huge grey looming pillars reminiscent of a Gothic castle, blue lighting streaking across the stage like the glow from a full moon, and smoke creeping across the stage floor. You could feel the tension build throughout the audience, and I knew we were in for a unique experience.
The actors were simply brilliant. In particular, Jessica Webber’s as Lucy performance was captivating. As she transitioned from a beautiful, fun and independent young woman into one of Dracula’s first victims. Webber’s performance portraying Lucy’s seduction by Dracula was raw and filled with sexual tension. In comparison, Cheryl Campbell as Lady Renfield, performance added humour and also an unnerving element to the production the whole. Driven to insanity by her utter devotion towards Dracula, Campbell’s portrayal Lady Renfield was hard to take your eyes off.
For me, the most the impressive part of this production of Dracula, was the special effects and staging. No expense was spared to create a huge set depicting the grounds of a Gothic castle. The stage was filled with eight grey, imposing pillars that can be moved and pushed by the actors to create new sets and scenes. With surround sound, and lighting the production worked hard to keep the audience in constant state of unnerve and tension. We really were sitting on the edge of our seats, wondering where the next flash of light or huge rumble of thunder would come from. With cast members jumping from windows, Dracula disappearing before our eyes, and gruesome draining of blood, the special effects really stole the show.
With our expectations high, and love for Gothic story of Dracula, myself and my friends were not disappointed! We left Hull New Theatre buzzing. Seduced by Dracula ourselves, and spellbound by the special effects, we could not stop talking about it all the way home.
Don’t miss your chance to see this innovative and captivating stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Showing at Hull Theatre until Saturday 27th October and tickets start at £15, and worth every penny!