Fangs for the memories

dracula

Dracula

Mark Bruce Company

DanceXchange

The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome

*****

DRACULA, presented by the Mark Bruce Company is a deliciously gothic interpretation of the Bram Stoker Novel.

It is a spectacular show that exudes a chilling excitement from beginning to end. Mark Bruce choreographs, directs and even composes the popular horror story with a unique and enthralling style which is captivating to the imagination.

Dracula is a story with which many people are familiar and its adaptations are endless. Mark Bruce’s artistic approach to the story however is second to none. His interpretation results in the audience seeing a version that not only reflects the essence of Stoker’s original, but allows us to see the individuality and superb skill of an endearing company.

This Dracula is unlike any other portrayal. First, the story is told by movement through Bruce’s daring style of dance theatre. Immediately it is easy to understand his concepts along with how the story unfolds through each dancer’s emotional approach to their character.

As a chorus or when performing solo, the audience can see the individuality that each performer brings to whom they play. The dance numbers were a wonder to behold, but what made this production truly stand out was the believability of each character, which was determined by their wonderful skills in the art of dance.

There wasn’t an ounce of energy that was lost in this two hour production,dracula in fact, the ending was particularly captivating as we saw a stimulating routine for the pursuit of Dracula. The first half captured what the story told and presented us with a stunningly visual experience and created the world in the most distinct style.

The audience felt an emotional attachment and connection to the story throughout, but mostly during the second act, where the conclusions of story and character really came to light. This was fast paced and enchanting, not feeling scared or horrified, at what is about to unfold.

Jonathan Goddard gives a stellar performance as the count. Pictures: Farrows Creative 

Jonathan Goddard has a breathless talent and his portrayal of The Count was truly magnificent. As well as giving a hugely emotional journey to his role, Goddard’s gift of movement allowed the audience to see Dracula’s inner most thoughts that only we were allowed to see. The exposure allowed for an emotional connection between audience and performer.

Nicholas Cass-Beggs also showed a talent in more ways than one. His booming operatic voice served as a refreshing interlude in a humorous and charming scene of courting Eleanor Duval, played excellently by Mina Harker.

The use of a chorus of Vampire Brides played by Nicole Guarino, Grace Jabbari and Hannah Kidd was the added extra that made this production as spectacular as it was. Constantly changing with each scene and aiding luidity to the story, the three girls gave constant atmosphere, intense or humorous. Each showed pure talent of dance were the constant story tellers. Almost looking at the story with us, but playing an integral role to each scene.

With movement and awe-inspiring talent aside, this production was also visually captivating due to the wonderful costume and set elements. Bruce’s concept clearly reflected a  gothic wonderland, with tall steel gates serving as a backdrop to each place. The set was just as important to the production as the physical movement. All performers used the visually stunning props and set as if it were part of their own body.

We saw the stage turn from Dracula’s terrifying lair to a rowdy pub, a graveyard, the woods and the transitions to create these visions in such an intimate space was a wonder to behold. Dancers also became creatures with the help of breath-taking costumes. With beautiful movement with the addition of beautiful design of mask, it would be hard to believe that it is merely dancers and not the animal of which was portrayed.

This production was spectacular in every way. As a piece of dance, the talent that is shown by everyone leaves you speechless. This is theatre and Bruce is a storyteller, and the emotional and often sensual commitment to character through dance makes for a thrilling and magnificent experience.To 18-10-14

Elizabeth Halpin

15-10-14 

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