Review: Dracula’s Ghost @ Lichfield Garrick

The Studio at the Garrick was turned into an intimate space, full of black magic and vampire paraphernalia, skulls, maps and screens when Don’t Go into the Cellar bought their show Dracula’s Ghost to Lichfield.

The creation of leading actor Jonathan Goodwin, the production is a fictionalised look at Bram Stoker’s most famous character which was famously never copyrighted leading to a number of court cases, which is where the play starts.

Florence Stoker is looking after her late husband’s affair, presided over by the ghoulish, but ever loyal Mr Leech. The audience is given some information as to Leech’s true nature when he startles Mrs Stoker, because she does not see his reflection in a mirror, but even his name has two connotations – a blood-sucker in both metaphorical and literal senses.

As the storyline develops we learn much about the Count, from his dealing with characters from Jack the Ripper to Dorien Gray, to more modern characters, even mentioning in comedic asides the recent upsurge in vampire interest from the likes of Twilight.

This is the second time I have seen this production, and it has developed somewhat as actors have grown used to characters, inhabiting them more fully. Goodwin is perfectly suited to this type of gothic role with an imposing stage presence and spindly fingers, perfectly cast in the long shadows that the lighting provides.

Andrea Stephenson has also developed. From the elderly widow Florence Stoker to Irene Adler to spirited performances as a mysterious Indian diety, she believably covered the range.

This was a show that kept the audience interested throughout, with enough shocks and surprises to keep the audience on their toes. If you like gothic theatre, Don’t Go into the Cellar are seen as leading figures in this type of work and often tour locally.