David Alnwick Presents
The Mystery of Dracula
Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre
Until Saturday 10th February 2024
Crossing the boundaries between theatre and magic, David Alnwick held the audience in rapt attention throughout the show which landed in Newcastle this week.
There is an art to storytelling. The ability to keep an audience interested for just over an hour is definitely one that David Alnwick possesses. Starting with a passage read from Bram Stokers classic 1897 novel using a flicking light and moody music that is straight out of a Hammer movie, it is easy to be misled into the direction that the show is going.
Quickly though, the lights are up and David reminds the audience that at the time of publication, a significant number of the world’s population identified with spiritualism and Stoker’s novel tapped straight into that mood. Thus the show is not just about the creation of a legend as Dracula uncertainly is, but also the antics of the mediums, as we see them today, and spiritualists of the time. The use of illusion, or as we tend to call it, magic, still features in entertainment of course.
David Alnwick is a good with his magic tricks and quickly the audience are up of their feet trying to “read his mind”. It is this level of friendly interaction helps maintain interest. Don’t panic - there was nothing that one should be worried about if asked to help out. There is also an interesting narrative linking incidents to Stoker and the town of Whitby which is interesting thanks to good pace, as well as a subject that you want to hear more about. There are a number of moments which had the audience laughing - perhaps more than some comedies that we have seen.
As is usually the case in these shows, the action reaches a climax which we won’t spoil but I will acknowledge that some of the Friday night crowd let out audible gasps of astonishment.
This is a fun show which opens up the audience's minds to the Victorian beliefs. Thanks to strong storytelling, good pace and some very well executed “magic” the audience left very happy. This is a fine slice of fringe theatre that deserves greater exposure.
Review: Stephen Oliver