Photos – Daniel Boud

Gosh. It’s hard not to gush like a punctured artery over the awesome artistry on show in Dracula, the latest, and arguably greatest, production in the Kip Williams’ cine-theatre universe.

Williams and his collaborators, designer Marg Horwell, video designer, Craig Wilkinson, lighting designer Nick Schlieper, sound designer Jessica Dunn, video editor, Susie Henderson and composer Clemence Williams have created a visceral audio visual realm – a vision splendid – bridging cinema and film in a seamless and flawless fashion.

Williams’ adaptation is a carefully considered script, Bram Stoker’s classic novel condensed to a thrilling two hour experience, diary entries and letters from the original text brought vividly and powerfully to life.

Symbiotic with its cinematic conceits, there are representation of iconic images from film incarnations of Dracula, ranging from the urbane Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee to the cross cultural Nosferatu and Blacula.

Set design evokes emblematic tropes of coaches, castles, crypts and crucifixes while the music score plays with Prokofiev and pulse beats.

Zahra Newman reaches a zenith in her multi role performance, each consummate characterisation crystalline; a pinnacle, precise and perfect and, most preciously pertinent, playful. The rhythm riveting, the stage presence powerful, the screen presence no less so, the diction and delivery impeccable.

From the hapless Victorian conveyance clerk, Jonathan Harker through Mina and Lucy, Doctor Seward, the lunatic Renfield, the American adventurer, Quincy, the Dutch vampire hunter, Van Helsing, and the titular entity itself, Newman traverses these variations with an assurance and command that is awesome. 

Funny, fearless, mesmerising and musical. Oh joy, oh bliss, Newman gets to sing as well! Like children of the night, what music she makes!

Fluent and proficient, the camera operators and stage management personnel add to the meta-theatrical enterprise, neither hindering nor distracting, but rather enhancing, an incorporation of the performance and narrative thread; an inclusion not an intrusion.

An intoxicating production of horror and humour, as much tongue in cheek as fang in neck, Dracula is a must see.

Event details

Sydney Theatre Company presents
by Bram Stoker | adapted by Kip Williams

Director Kip Williams

Venue: Roslyn Packer Theatre | Sydney NSW
Dates: 6 July - 4 August 2024

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