Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton.
Presented as part of Derbyshire's Live & Local which supports rural and community touring productions in various venues throughout the county. David Mynne, who was a leading light in setting up Kneehigh Theatre in Cornwall, formed Rabbit Theatre and is touring his version of the story of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". This is theatre with a difference; a one man show of story-telling with sound effects and light, and a whole lot of batty comedy.
The stage was only just lit, creating that certain mid light eeriness, setting the atmosphere beautifully. David appeared from the rear of the stage shadows and started to relate the story of Dracula. he operated all of the lights and did all of the sound effects himself, as well as operating the props. Stripped back theatre can sometimes be the most evocative. Leaving it simple and uncluttered makes you focus more on the actor and the words and David is a wonderful story-teller. he painted pictures in your head, playing every character himself, balancing the legend and myth of the infamous fanged blood-sucker with an original line in comedy.
The attraction was obvious as the audience couldn't take their eyes from David, who became even more eerie when the red spotlight created a spooky bloody-hued face of David, who became Dracula, and then as quick reverted back to Van Helsing the vampire hunter or the doctor, Mina or any one of the several characters he introduced within the story, eventually leaving us with the "to be continued....." cliffhanger.
A brilliant night of comedy and chills, or was that just the air conditioning, I'm not sure. It must be difficult to hold an audience in the palm of your hand, enticing them into your supernatural world, hypnotising them to make them hang on to your every word and then to break the spell by making them laugh. Difficult as I imagine this was, David managed it and he cast his spell on us.