vamp head

Vampire Vlad played by Jack Trow looking for teardrop salvation

Vampomime

Belgrade Theatre, B2

*****

VAMPOMIME is Panto for people who aren’t sure it’s for them (and the over-18s who think they’ve grown out of it).

Panto is hardly recognisable; no dame, no huge costumes, no children on stage but everyone is a villain except Denise, the lovely librarian from Earlsdon (the very, very Welsh Miriam Grace Edwards).

It is wonderfully funny, with a supreme script from Nick Walker and beautifully located in the Coventry area despite the broad Transylvanian accents, with a pertinent reference to The Special’s ‘Ghost Town’ at its core.

The premise is simple even if the story is comvampireplex: a company of theatrical vampires performing Beauty and the Beast alongside the Belgrade’s Main House Christmas Panto plan to become a human theatre company.

The big problem is how to become human.

Alan Alucard (Graeme Rose), vampire supremo, in knocking about Europe for a few thousand years has heard that a sympathetic teardrop from a woman can turn them human, and Denise is their best (and only) choice.

Graeme Rose as the vampire supremo

 Recruited into the company to play Bella, over the head of vampish vampire Karen (Katy Stephens) who is suitably put out – all the more so when her smoky and disembodied lover Brian is seen leaving Denise’s dressing room . . . he is trapped, genie-style, in a vacuum cleaner occasioning possible the most memorable if groan-worthy joke of the evening – ‘Dyson with death’.

Karen has to play Kevin, Denise’s unlikely car worker ‘boyfriend’ in moustache, flying suit and uncertain accent. Vampire Vlad (Jack Trow), hungry for human blood, plays the Beast doomed by his own cruelty to wait for the love of a good woman to set him free. Denise as Bella is beguiled by his library as much as anything else, and the rest you can probably guess.

I loved the shadow puppets, loved the ‘business’, laughed out loud at the programme notes which I wish I had read before it began, loved the one-liners, hated the instantly forgettable songs, but enjoyed the performance enormously and would happily take work colleagues, family and friends to enjoy it again – BUT, a word to the wise, wear a polo neck! To 02-01-16.

Jane Howard

11-12-15

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