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VAMPIRES are all the rage these days, especially in teen fiction like “the Twilight” saga, but make no mistake Brisbane’s “shake and stir” theatre company’s Matilda award-winning production of “Dracula” is no romance.“CityNews” walked into a rehearsal at The Playhouse yesterday just in time to see actor Nick Skubij as Count Dracula, complete with a heavy Transylvanian accent, sinking his teeth into the neck of the innocent young maiden Mina.
Skubij’s Dracula, though appearing young, is ageless, powerful and socially aware in shake and stir’s take on the famous Bram Stoker novel, and emerges as a virulent opponent of the organised industrial society burgeoning in the Victorian era.As in the book, young lawyer Jonathan Harker visits Count Dracula at his castle in the Carpathian Mountains, but get more than he bargains for in the way of hospitality. Leaving Jonathan for dead, the Count travels to London on an ambitious and bloody quest.
But is he a monster?
“You’re so much more than them, Mina”, Skubij/ Dracula was saying to Harker’s fiancée, taking a swipe at the polite London society in which she lives and urging her to “renounce this deathly existence – machines have extinguished life”.
Though billed as a “classic struggle between good and evil, innocence and sin”, this “Dracula” also pits originality against mediocrity.
As always, shake and stir stays close to the original book. “CityNews” has already seen its “Animal Farm”, “1984” and “Wuthering Heights”. Now its taken a leap into the realm of horror, but these are chills and thrills with a purpose. Viewers will just have to be there to find out how.
“Dracula”. Shake and stir theatre co. At The Playhouse, to April 29. Bookings to canberratheatrecentre.com.au or 6275 2700.