The Dracula Spectacula by John Gardiner & Andrew Parr
Performed during 1994
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Reviewed by Chris Bowers for The Croydon Advertiser
The myriad of village halls which play host to the rich seam of amateur dramatics that is such an essential part of British culture only occasionally throw up an imaginative workshop production like this. But how rewarding it is when it happens.
Theatre Workshop Coulsdon's revival of this musical thriller they first staged in 1977 is built around a send-up of the Dracula story laced with freely adapted pop songs of the past 30 years.
In truth it's a bit hit and miss, but when it hits it really strikes the target. The highlight was Transylvanian Rhapsody, loosely taken from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody ("any way the blood flows doesn't really matter to me"), which was superb in singing, staging and special effects. It should be kept up by the group as a party piece long after the show has finished.
The cast of 27 showed lots of imagination, especially the youngsters playing the Karloffia Glublick addicts.
Paul M Ford (Dracula) and Richard Lloyd (Nick Necrophiliac) were the two principals who gave the production shape when it tended to miss rather than hit. And the show could not have had its magic without Mark Taylor and his musicians.
Chris Argles, a veteran of the original Coulsdon show 17 years ago, directs some wonderful moments (with some great effects from Andy Kerner), though at times the show is just a little too clever for itself.
The pacing is very rough and ready, especially in the first half, and some very witty touches get a little lost.
But anyone who can make it to one of the three remaining performances should do so.
It's just great fun, and any group that can put in the programme "We would like to apologies to Meatloaf, Abba, Queen, Manhatten Transfer, Tom Jones and The Carpenters but we flatly refuse to apologise to The Wombles, in fact we think they should apologise to us," deserves the benefit of the doubt.
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