By Lisa Clark
Innes Lloyd are veteran purveyors of nerdy comedy – Rob Lloyd and David S. Innes. They have previously celebrated Harry Potter and Red Dwarf – amongst others – and of course are pretty famous for their association with Dr Who. Their production of Dracula has not been created with fans of sparkly romantic teen vampires in mind, this has been made for people who are old school Bram Stoker buffs.
It is important to note is that this show is not about any old vampires, there is no mention of Buffy or What We Do In the Shadows. This show is about The Count. Count Dracula. There are still a lot of cute related cultural reference jokes running through it, but it is mostly quite a neat comically theatrical presentation of Stoker’s novel and the way it was composed from letters, diaries and ship logs and such, which certainly made me happy. The crib notes or ‘Fun Facts’ are about the Dracula character and all the different ways he’s been presented in pop culture history with mentions of Blackula and Count Duckula and so forth. In fact I wondered if they created this show just so they could sing the Count Duckula theme song!
There is a lot of skill and experience on display. Great choreography and musicianship, good writing and great performing, as well as fantastically slick lighting and sound from Sam Duncan. The sea shanty is the highlight of the show, being very silly, jaunty and a bit creepy, perfectly capturing the account in the novel. The constant appearances of an unrelated horror film were a bit overdone and out of place though. If they needed to make comedic movie references, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) has more than enough potential material, Keanu Reves, for one.
It is clear that Rob Lloyd is the standout performer here being a very experienced comedy veteran, starting out with The Hounds (with Tegan Higginbotham & Adam McKenzie) who became Watson after he left. David S. Innes is a delightful plucky sidekick playing many outrageously silly characters and they are joined for this production by Jennifer Speirs who is the Straight Guy to Innes Lloyd’s silly stuff, mostly concentrating on playing the Mina Harker character.
I love a group festival show that makes the effort to produce programmes for the audience. Even just a single sheet that celebrates the efforts of everyone involved in the production. It can act as a sort of flyer that they can take to friends. It’s also a fantastic source of information for reviewers!
This was a preview performance, but was pretty polished. Innes Lloyd are very experienced at entertaining a crowd. As this beds in and they become more relaxed about fooling around with it and the audience (there was a little of this tonight which added joyous sparks) it will only get better. For fans of nerd culture Innes Lloyd shows are always a fun night. If you’re a fan of The Count and love a laugh, don’t miss it!
Dracula is on at The Butterfly Club until March 31