DRACULA BY MARK BRUCE COMPANY AT CURVE REVIEW
As it draws nearer to Halloween, the holiday that celebrates all things creepy, it seems only fitting that Curve Theatre in Leicester would play host to Dracula. However, this performance is like no other; the story is told through dance, admittedly something I was apprehensive about. Due to having two left feet, I was unsure if this adaptation would be engaging. Oh how wrong I was!
This night was something Victoria and I have been looking forward to for a while because being poor students – queue violins – a trip to the theatre is a rarity. Therefore, we donned our glad rags and set off into the blustery night (very atmospheric!). We were both in awe of how beautiful Curve Theatre is, and instantly we were kicking ourselves that we haven’t made more use of it. Nevertheless, we sat down with eager anticipation about what Mark Bruce’s Dracula would have in store for us.
The performance opened with a mesmerising solo by Jonathan Goddard who plays Dracula, the swift and silent dance routines helped depict the eeriness of the character. The fluid movements felt at time as though you were watching a bat because they were so sharp and fast. Fear was created by the distinctive set, which was simple yet effective. The daunting black iron gates that were towards the back of the stage is everything that you want from a gothic story, and as an English Literature student I couldn’t help think how they symbolise; entrapment and secrecy key themes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Goddard was then joined on stage by an equally terrifying ensemble, all in black, wearing huge leather wolf masks. The intimidating costumes combined with the low lighting made the audience unaware of their presence until they were front of stage which made me clench the side of my seat through shock. The use of black costume and minimalistic lighting throughout the show for the most part was extremely effective but at times it made the following the actor’s movements hard and so felt that some of the story was lost.
The chorography on the whole was captivating and made me wish that I was blessed with twinkle toes. The array of dancing techniques used helped to create the different scenes and kept the pace fast. A dance sequence which I felt made most impact was when Dracula was showing Jonathan Harker his powers. The lights suddenly dropped and a low amber floor lighting was used to show the three vampire brides, who then handed Dracula a cap and top hat and they burst into the Charleston. Goddard’s overtly happy facial expression and dance routine juxtaposed the sincere plotline. It almost felt as though I was hallucinating and the scene felt so bizarre but so enchanting, Bruce had perfectly portrayed Dracula’s manipulative powers.
The gifted cast brought the spine-tingling story to life and added a new spark to the old tale. However, I felt that unless you knew the Dracula story at times you may be left feeling confused. Regardless Victoria and I left Curve feeling exhilarated, and over drinks we could not stop talking about the extraordinary talented cast. It was whilst having drinks that we spotted Jonathan Goddard leaving Curve, we immediately started fangirling and I dashed out to get a picture. Goddard was so humble and didn’t seem to mind me saying ‘it was the best thing ever, oh my god the dancing was just incredible.’
Excuse my face! Jonathan Goddard and I.
Dracula is now touring around the country and we urge to not miss out on hair-raising performance. Dates of the tour can be found here http://www.markbrucecompany.com/current/