Posted in Theatre reviews

Dracula. Mr Swallow: the Musical.

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When waiting for Keiran Hodgson’s French Exchange at the Pleasance, I got talking to the man behind the bar. I already had tickets to Dracula at this point, but I knew nothing about it. I was filled with excitement when this man insisted I was in for a treat when I saw it.

At only an hour long, as the opening number informs, I’ve never laughed so much in my life. It unfolds as a dress rehearsal for a Dracula musical, many of the players breaking character to the utter delight of the audience.

Nick Mohammed plays Mr Swallow, the high maintenance scene stealing Dracula. He engages the audience with a rib tickling energy that just has to be seen to be believed. A totally gem of a scene was the introduction of a ‘much needed’ additional character. Who ever is able to make a Scouse accent funny without having to rely on the cliques is true talent in my eyes. Yes I’m biased, and currently a little homesick, but everyone around me found it equally as funny as I did.

Playing Mr Goldworth and Van Helsing, David Elms adds a reserved calm to the delightful chaos. Early on, his involvement is mainly offstage, but as the dress rehearsal progresses and Van Helsing is introduced to the story he has more time on stage.

The previously mentioned Keiran Hodgson plays Jonathan, the invested and committed actor who wants his moment to shine as Bram Stoker’s solicitor Harker. While Harker/Jonathan never quite gets out of Dracula’s shadow, Hodgson is able to steal a number of scenes, including the one line run-through of his solo song that he vehemently fights for.

Joanna Grace is amazing as the female component of the four-piece. This woman has an amazing voice and a thought struck me when she belted out her solo; she is perfect for Wicked’s Elphaba. Her presence on the stage is commanding and a true joy to watch.

A special mention must go out to the five piece live band; Becca Tudor, Ed Zanders, Jack Cherry and Ben Hartly. Timings of all the players were perfect and it added to the overall feel of the play. There was a moment where I believe Ed Zanders was drawn into a conversation about the tempo of a song- genius.

As the hour draws to a close I had to admit, the barman was right; it was a joy to watch this group of professionals have such fun on stage. I intend to watch it again before it closes (28th Feb) and I would encourage anyone else to do the same.

Dracula Tickets
http://sohotheatre.com/whats-on/dracula

David Elms will be appearing at the Invisible Dot for the Saturday Night Show: 7th March and 18th April
http://www.theinvisibledot.com/search?query=david+elms

Keiran Hodgson will be appearing at the Invisible Dot for the New Wave: 19th March and 16th April
http://www.theinvisibledot.com/events/330-the-new-wave

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