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Dracula: Mina's Reckoning | Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has a play by Morna Pearson and Sally Cookson to give the perfect spooky, suspenseful vibes for you this Halloween season. This adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula sends chills down your spine with the combination of its set, lighting and convincing terror portrayed by the actors. It is not a show for the faint-hearted indeed. Taken away from Transylvania and transported to the equally mystic supernatural location of Aberdeenshire, two hours of thrill and wonder ensue. Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning is a striking gothic play written by Morna Pearson and directed by Sally Cookson, exploring the infamous tale of vampires through the eyes of Mina.

This cleverly written adaptation remains in its details mostly faithful to Stoker’s classic, making it a must see for those who know and love the story wanting a fresh perspective, whilst being an enjoyable and accessible introduction to those who have only heard its name. Danielle Jam’s portrayal of Mina reflects raw emotion in the character’s strong-willed determination, taking the audience along for the ride as Jam expertly uses Mina’s role as narrator to guide our imaginations throughout. No character went unnoticed, each contributed to the play with their own quirks that only added to the story onstage. This company of actors worked extremely well with one another to create a cohesive and impactful performance. With only eight of them covering every character, it was amazing to see the breadth and versatility their skills gave the show.

A standout performance of last night would be Natalie Arle-Toyne's Professor Van Helsing. The audience were given several moments of comic relief with her well-placed timing and over-animated portrayal of the character, which quickly transitioned into moments of seriousness, immersing the performance in a suspense that held everyone on tenterhooks.

The all-female or non-binary cast assert a resistance against the patriarchal expectations of marriage or children, the set of an asylum showed how those outside of this norm couldn’t supposedly function or be accepted into society. It appears to be quite a literal metaphor for how society has confined them. This drive behind the play is woven in seamlessly, adding moments of humour at statements such as ‘you can grow brains, or you can grow babies’, as well as horror as Mina’s determination for independence leads to the most unexpected conclusion…

A round of applause must be awarded also to the set and costume designer, Kenneth Macleod, as well as lighting designer, Aideen Malone. All the aesthetic features of this play worked together to lay down the thrilling atmosphere, this was immediately evident by the first lighting cue causing several audience members to let slip a little scream. The setting has several different levels for the actors to use, which they did extremely well, whether it was the mental asylum, the castle, seaside or bedroom, each were clear through the versatility of the set and their use of it. This was only amplified with the lighting as it held clear points of focus for the audience. Dracula’s presence onstage was masked until the sharp lighting cues announced her presence on stage, giving a shiver down your spine which could be felt and heard murmured throughout the theatre.

This show is truly a well-crafted thriller that you need to sink your teeth into this October! Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning is running at the Belgrade Theatre until Saturday the 21st so snap your tickets up quickly to step into the world of the most renown vampire. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


PR Invite | Photography by Mihaela Bodlovic 


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