Dracula, the Untold Story
imitating the dog/Leeds Playhouse
Touring to Derby Playhouse Oct 19-23, Dukes Lancaster Oct 29-30, Lowry Salford Nov 12-13.
THERE was, and presumably always will be, access to the Dracula of old: the personal, primitive, page-turning magic of imagined crucifixes and wooden stakes.
But here we move on from 19th century text, via gloomy, it flickering black and white movies, to a mid-20th century setting.
It’s New Year’s Eve 1965, and a young woman, ostensibly in her 20s, walks into a London police station to admit murdering a newly-discovered, decapitated corpse seven decades earlier.
In the real world, the Beatles are singing We Can Work It Out. But can the audience of 2021, given the apparent collapse of the time-frame?
Here, the always-innovative imitating the dog company presents a post mortem on the Dracula myth, treating it as historic fact, in the form of a freshly-conceived graphic novel, merging literature, art and animation by utilising actors juxtaposed with imitating the dog's trademark massive, often dazzling, projected imagery.
Mina Harker (Riana Duce), the original detective of the novel, becomes the female protagonist of a fresh investigation. Her police inquisitors (Adela Rajnovic and Matt Predergast) are the catalysts for her revelations.
The revisionist authors, Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks, are also the directors of this multi-faceted enterprise, which splices cartoonish fun (complete with speech bubbles) with occasional subtitled multi-lingual excerpts.
Often we appear to be caught up in the shadowy world of bad dreams, having been reminded that “evil’s cleverest trick is to forget.”
But inevitably, where is the focus of attention; on Simon Wainwright’s ingenious, overwhelming video design, or on the endeavours of the physical actors it dwarfs? Do we give priority to the puppets, or the puppeteer?
In this case, it can only be hoped that alert observers may respond in equal measure to the commendable lucidity of such an integrated presentation.
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