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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Newbury YoungStars - Dracula Spectacula

3rd to 5th August 2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Ticket to Transylvania

A RIP-roaring horror spoof from Newbury Youngstars

Newbury Youngstars: Dracula Spectacula, at New Greenham Arts, from Thursday, August 3 to Saturday, August 5

John Gardiner and Andrew Parr's spooky musical is a tongue-in-cheek spoof based on the Dracula legend. Newbury Youngstars embraced this genre with relish and enthusiasm under the sure-handed direction of Jeanette Maskell.

The simple set was effective, with sliding panels revealing our location and an atmospheric horror soundscape that captured the mood perfectly. Musical direction was hi the capable hands of Michael Evans.

In the opening scene we met the ghouls and ghosts that inhabited the graveyard and were introduced to Father O'Stake - a lovely Irish accent from Sam Trumper.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Miss Nadia Niave was teaching geography to her bored pupils Kelly (Melissa Collins), Julie (Rebecca Stewart) and Elvis (Andrew Knape).

Very soon the lesson became reality as Kate Izzard, Lucy Jolliffe, Anna and Jessica Walter, the pretty girl singers, encouraged us to fly on Transylvanian Airways, although by the state of the rather inebriated pilot (Alex Metcalf) it certainly was not advisable.

Once in Karloffia, the cute school kids met the demented, deranged coach driver (Matt Collins) who took these innocents to the inn of Hans and Gretel (Talia Pye). We discovered that there was a deep secret lurking under the lake in the dark castle, but fears were put on hold by drinking the Lubbly Glublick, a rousing song sung by the warm-hearted and ever optimistic Hans (Josef Byrne).

Enter our superhero Nick Necrophiliac (Harley Ilott) - yes I know the puns are truly awful, as were some of the one liners, but it was that sort of show and hugely enjoyable.

Nick instantly fell in love with the naive Nadia - a lovely performance by Aine McGarvey.

But danger lurked and the evil super rat Dracula (Euan Bonnar) had designs on Miss Nadia as he lured her to his castle and imprisoned her and the kids as he prepared his life blood substitute with his deformed servant Genghis (Joseph Pinfold). He was helped by his wacky mother, a powerful, convincing performance by Clare Butler. But in the end Nick saved them all and he and Nadia were married.

Young Elvis perfectly summed up the show "cool vibrations, you know what I mean".