Eerie momentum lost in show’s second act

Dracula, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

John Ginman has adapted this production from Bram Stoker’s famous novel and condensed the 400-page book into a two-hour theatrical entertainment.

It is not really a play but a theatrical experience with music.

Set in 1897 it is faithful to the book but it does help if you know the story of Dracula before you go to see it.

When I came out in the interval I thought it was the most exciting, eerie theatrical experience I had ever seen. The first half follows Jonathan Harker’s trip to Transalvania and his experience in Count Dracula’s castle.

It is very dark and Paul Kevin-Taylor is brilliant as the mysterious Count as is Will Bryant as Harker. There is a backlit curtain where mysterious silhouettes appear and with mist drifting across the stage you can sense the danger Harker is in.

But they seem unable to keep up the eerie momentum in the second act.

The acting is still as good but the lights are too bright and at one point the audience was rocking with laughter when they open a coffin and find Dracula inside,when you should have had a feeling of fear.

There are only five actors in the cast so it is inevitable they play several parts but Dracula does lose his mystery when he appears as Professor Van Helsing in Act 2, especially when he slips off his jacket and becomes Dracula again.

Katrina Gibson and Rachel Winters are very good as Lucy and Mina as is Gareth Cooper as Doctor Seward but Dracula is a horror story and there was no real horror in the second half, even when Lucy dies and turns into a vampire herself.

If Act 2 had been as eerie and dark as Act 1 this would have been a great theatrical experience.

Praise must go to the Cast who all play instruments to provide the music.

By Amanda Wilkins