Played out against an impressively atmospheric and quite frankly terrifying set by Phil Eddolls, which becomes graveyard, tavern, salon and castle with horse-drawn carriage and even baying hounds, Mark Bruce’s dance version of Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic classic Dracula is a phenomenally impressive piece of theatre.
It grips from the first step and is hypnotic and transfixing to the last. Jonathan Goddard is impressive in the title role, keeping the performance strong, sensual and tortured, never veering into cheap eroticism, indeed so affecting is his portrayal that you can’t help wishing his pain away.
There are a few moments of levity in the proceedings to off-set the horror but the overwhelming feeling is of darkness and whilst faithful to the original it is not slavishly so. There are many delightful nods to the original: a dove that carries letters to and from Jonathan and Mina, echoing the novel’s letters and diary entries and Dracula’s arrival in Whitby as a black dog but this time clad in a rather natty silk top hat. There is also a fantastically staged and choreographed folk-dance sequence which adds greatly to the atmosphere as Jonathan travels through Transylvania.