Theatre review: Dracula at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Dracula and Jonathan Harker

Dracula and Jonathan Harker - Credit: Archant

Aline Waites reviews a scary adaptation of Bram Stoker’s vampire saga starring a ‘dead ringer’ Count Dracula

Despite all the creepy villains of modern horror stories, the greatest is still the gentlemanly vampire Count Dracula.

The elegance of the bloodsucking Count will always hold sway. There have been numerous stage and screen adaptations of Bram Stoker’s beautifully written book and although Simon James Collier’s version is rather long and verbose it is so well played, the story comes up as fascinating, fresh and scary as ever.

He has achieved a special coup of casting a Romanian actor to play the titular Transylvanian count. Cristinel Hogas’ accent, imposing presence and charm make him a dead ringer for the immortal count, a tall and thin young man with the same distinguished, handsome features as Stoker’s best friend, the actor manager Sir Henry Irving, from whom the character was fashioned. When Jonathan Harker visits Dracula Castle on business he is attacked by the count’s three terrifying consorts dressed in hooded black cloaks who almos kill him in their lust for his blood. In the second act they are joined by Connie Jackson as the pretty flirt Lucy an English girl with a mystery wasting illness who received three proposals in one day and eventually becomes a bride of Dracula. This riveting production uses only nine actors with some roles doubled and a new character Mrs Evans (Ella Garland) added to inject extra humour into proceedings. But the looming figure in evening dress and jewelled cloak dominates every scene and we feel his presence even when he is absent from the action in act two which concerns strange events in Whitby.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Until March 14.