Dracula: Revamped

IMG_0718i George Drennan.jpg

Oran Mor, Glasgow
July 2 – 20, 2019

Stagecraft: four-stars.png  Book: four-stars.png  Performance: four-stars.png

Oran Mor’s Summer Panto boasted a spooky set, at the centre of which was an image of Dracula emerging from his coffin (where he spends the daytime). Finished off by some grimy stone walls and two puppet black crows on either side, the stage was all set for John and James Kielty’s highly enthusiastic portrayal of the Dracula story, satisfyingly packed with all the Panto characters we know and love, and in fact go to these things to see.

Dracula (George Drennan) was in his prime conversing with his two crows (the puppets) about dastardly things to come, mainly the love he bore for Mina (Ashley Smith). As in all good pantos (summer or winter) the plot stuck quite closely to the telling of the actual story, in this case Mr Bram Stoker’s Gothic tale of the terrible Dracula who lost all when his true love died.

IMG_0737i Angela Darcy, Darren Brownlie.jpg

Every scene had great punch lines and raucous songs with the lyrics suitably altered to fit the story. As the second scene began all four characters were on stage, each one dressed in such a way – ranging from grim grey to brighter than bright – as to easily distinguish heroes (hooray!) from villains (boo!), and all undergoing their trials and tribulations with a great deal of oomph and gusto. And then there were the artefacts, such as a hoover that would later turn out to be pivotal to the plot, but I’d better not give away how…

The plot was full of twists and turns as each character strove to achieve their conflicting goals. Can Jonathon (Darren Brownlie) save his beloved Mina from turning into a vampire? Can Dame Igorette (Ashley Smith) find a new tourist attraction for Transylvania now that Dracula has been killed by a stake through his heart? Can the revamped Dracula (hence the title!) be defeated again so that Mina can be rescued from enslavement as his vampire bride in gloomy Weegieland where the sun never shines?

IMG_0754i George Drennan, Ashley Smith.jpg

Encouraged by the strobe lighting and a loud electric soundtrack the whole room joined in and countered Dracula’s “Oh yes I will!” with an equally hearty “Oh no you won’t!” This jovial, light-hearted show was pure fun from beginning to end – as much for the performers as the audience, and you really felt that they wanted us to enjoy it as much as they did. Dracula: Revamped runs at the Oran Mor until 20 July. I suggest you book yourself a ticket now before they all sell out!

Daniel Donnolly


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