Young Expressions at Ingatestone
Parr and Gardiner's spooky Dracula Spectacula has been around for years on the school and youth group circuit.
Ingatestone's Young Expressions brought it up to date with airport security, and blatant product placement in the vampire's lab.
The key to this jokey show is to send up the story and the colourful cliché characters. Oscars for over-acting, then, to the elegant, dark-eyed Wraith [Sophie Brown] and the undead Count himself [Alec Stevens]. They made the most of their top hat and tails number with Genghis [Rebecca Craythorne].
I liked the sinister Landau [Jared Bates] and Booze, the leading Glublick addict [Bethan Williams]. Promising in smaller roles, the tiny, tipsy pilot [Ralph Stevens] and Farquarson [Grant Clark].
Love interest - “sloppy stuff” - was down to Indiana-Jones-style adventurer Nick Heartstopper [didn't he used to be Nick Necrophiliac ?], suavely played by Harry Kemp, and innocent schoolteacher Nadia Naïve [Sophie Chick], and of course Herr Hans and Frau Gretel [Laura Maze and Lucy Slater].
This staging, directed by Liz Gibson and Allen Clark, started impressively with a forest of hands, and included a lively Lubbly Glublick, with Lederhosen slapping and cheerleaders, and the zombies and brides of Dracula routine at the top of Act Two.
The gags and puns [Hans and Hers hotties, say] should have got more laughs, and some of these young performers are still learning the skills of timing and delivery, but this was nonetheless a welcome revival of an old favourite.
Musical Director Cathy Edkins led an accomplished band of young musicians.