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Young Sinodun Players - Dracula Spectacula

5th to 7th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th July 2001.

Review by Newbury Theatre.

This was spooky even before the curtain opened. I went on Friday 13th (naturally), and the audience was full of people - how shall I put this - who you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night in Transylvania. When the curtain did go up, the production really started with a bang. In a musical, the opening number sets the tone for the whole show - get off to a good start, and you've got the audience with you. This was a great opening number, and it soon became clear that what we had here was a very classy production; the combination of director Marilyn Johnstone, set designer Chris Stammers, and choreographer Catherine Futcher gave a professional feel to the whole thing.

The story starts with a teacher and two children from Pennsylvania taking a trip to Transylvania, and their inevitable encounter with Count Dracula. They are saved by the goodies, Herr Hans, Frau Gretel, Nicholas Necrophiliac and Father O'Stake, and just as we think we are getting a saccharine happy ending, the baddies resurrect and triumph.

The story is a good tongue-in-cheek take on the original, and the tunes are catchy. We had some excellent acting too. I particularly liked Victoria Leonard as Dracula, and Skip Saunders and Kate McNiven, as Drac's servant and mum, gave us some really good slapstick comedy in Act 2. Matthew Griffin, as Hans, gave a very mature acting and singing performance, and Kathryn Lee as Nadia and either Polly Gibson or Jessica Linton (the programme doesn't show which nights they performed on) as Nick provided the strong love element.

The only problem I had with the production was that I couldn't hear them very well. Although many of them had microphones, the voices just didn't carry to the back of the auditorium, particularly when they had to compete with the band (and the American and Irish accents didn't help). I know my hearing isn't very good, but others in my party said the same thing.

The production was very well-rehearsed and slick, and there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm from these young people. All in all, a most impressive performance.