Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning

Coventry Belgrade


In so-called normal circumstances, you know what to expect from a show featuring Dracula. It’s going to be scary, blood-thirsty and very, very dark.

In Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning, there is an all-female or gender-neutral cast plus, and mostly from the larger ensemble of world-weary women housed in the Aberdeenshire Asylum for Women, a huge amount of unexpected humour as Mina, star of the show, explains her story.

I enjoyed that, as they ate their custard in silence, they perfectly mirrored the actions of each other, showing their degree of institutionalisation.

Orphaned Mina Murray (Danielle Jam) is friend to Lucy (Ailsa Davidson) about to marry superintendent Dr Seward (Maggie Bain) and works with him there. As time passes, Lucy becomes Count Dracula’s first victim. Mina’s friend Jonathan Harker (Catriona Faint) is sent on an errand to Transylvania to see a Count who wishes to buy a Scottish castle. Count Dracula (Liz Kettle) is very scary indeed – with amazing hair that talks of other-worldliness and great shampoo. Habits are a little off-kilter as a vampire.

Mina meets Renfield (Ros Watt) who has already encountered the Count and has joined the undead. I found the timelines difficult here since, I’m pretty sure the ensemble of women say that Renfield has committed suicide?

Soothsayer Mr Swails (Anne Lacey) explains Mina’s background and some methods of defeating the Count. As Bella, the mother of the house, Anne Lacey also provides a lot of the humour, by bringing a vast amount of realism, scepticism and cynicism.  

Dr Seward’s Dutch ex-professor Van Helsing (Natalie Arle-Toyne) provides explanation and humour too which I think veered towards parody and wasn’t sure of the aim. She also adds garlic flowers and crucifixes…No spoiler alert here but the end is bloody and brutal but different from the book.

Amazing special effects, brilliant lighting effects and a hard-working and clever set add immeasurably to the story-telling. It was mostly enjoyable, and good story-telling. It felt like two plays for the price of one: with one a serious story about the Count and his murderous habits, and another portraying the women in the Asylum.

The whole drama is delivered in a broad and possibly archaic Scottish accent. In Coventry, as Pantomime season approaches, having a good grasp of broad Scottish accents is a real advantage. Directed by Sally Cookson, the Count will be doing his fang to 21-10-23;

Jane Howard


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