Golden Goose Theatre
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
You know I love a good bit of horror, so Dracula’s Guest sounded right up my street!
Based on Bram Stoker’s legendary character, this two-hander delves into the intense psychological manipulation the famed vampire employs to bend his victims to his will. We meet clearly distressed Renfield, on the verge of collapse, seated at a long table that only holds a rotting pig’s head. Dracula, seeming larger than life in stark opposition to unkempt and exhausted Renfield, runs circles around his guest, taunting and provoking him at every opportunity.
There is palpable energy in the room, an atmosphere of distress and desperation. Ashton Spear is intense as Renfield, cycling from nervous breakdown to rambling speech and back, challenging his captor one second, cowering in fear of him the next. Opposite him, James Hyland is a superb Dracula, fully inhabiting the character in voice and gestures, with tangible intensity, edging ever closer to this ultimate goal.
Dracula’s Guest is a spectacle of physical theatre, both Spear and Hyland committing fully to their roles. There is desperate violence mixed with frantic contrition, both characters spiralling towards each other and their inevitable end.
Spinning the tale of Dracula around colonialist imagery adds a jarring depths to the story, enveloping the audience in an aura of fear and anguish. With the brutality between and close proximity to the two rivals, the small pub theatre space seems to close in as the performance intensifies.
A superb piece of horror theatre, presented with striking commitment!