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DRACULA (article first published : 2005-09-21)

Steven Stead directs a cast of 11 in a visually enticing new version of the erotic Gothic horror, Dracula which comes to Kwasuka Theatre in October.

The time is 1899. The dawn of a new century. A new, Modern World is about to be born, free from superstition, ignorance and crushing poverty. Man, with his democratic ideals and rational sciences has banished the darkness that has been hanging over him for centuries…but what monster born of those violent centuries still haunts him? What is this bloodlust that seems always to seduce and destroy?

This is the world of Dracula. Bram Stoker unleashed his bloody Count upon a horrified but enthralled public in 1897 and the book has never been out of print since. There have been countless versions of the story on stage and screen, ranging from the black and white high camp of Bela Lugosi, to the disturbing surrealism of Klaus Kinski’s Nosferatu and various rip-offs, like Once Bitten and Blackula.

Now, Steven Stead (director) and Greg King (set designer) team up once again with award winning fashion guru Terrence Bray, to bring a classy, sexy, sophisticated play to Durban’s Kwasuka Theatre. Last year, audiences and critics delighted in the magnificent extravagance of their production of Dangerous Liaisons. This October, they can look forward to being thrilled in style with this erotic Gothic horror.

This version of Dracula is by award-winning Scots playwright, Liz Lochead.

“It’s a gripping and highly entertaining evening at the theatre,” says Stead. “It is very sensual, very dark, and stimulating in just about every way. I guarantee that you’ll be intrigued and challenged and will come away from the theatre with something to think about, much of which will keep you up at nights…”

The large cast of 11 is headed by Michael Gritten as Dracula, with Clare Mortimer and Belinda Henwood as his two beautiful victims, Mina and Lucy. Also starring is Neil Coppen who turns in a gripping performance as the lunatic, Renfield.

“I chose to do the play because it is so seldom nowadays that audiences get to see anything on this scale. Too often we’re expected to sit dutifully while two or three actors in street gear mutter endlessly in a scuffed black box. Theatre has developed a reputation of being dull and dowdy. I want to show that theatre can be lush, sexy, absorbing and most of all, entertaining,” says Stead.

Dracula will open at the Kwasuka Theatre with a special gala on Halloween, October 31. It will run until November 20. Performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 (Sundays at 18h00). Book at Computicket.




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