My notes on Dracula – The Vampire Strikes Back (2003)
This is the second videoed-from-the-back-of-the-hall Dracula pantomime I’ve watched this Christmas. A few plot elements – the search for three keys to Dracula’s treasure – cropped up in the 2015 Junior Minstead production I wrote up a few days ago. I get a sense that the script by Thos Ribbits and Tim Saward, staged here by the TheatreTrain company in Leytonstone in 2003, has been used as a template by productions that tip in their own jokes, songs, local references, topical routines, etc – though it has also evidently been restaged as is, plenty of times. Bram Stoker’s characters are dropped into a traditional pantomime format, complete with audience participation (‘look out – he’s behind you!’), drag performances (the dame is Coco Van Helsing, cuing a dreadful ‘coq au van’ pun), lively knees-up production numbers (the second act opens with a fun number for Dracula and his chorus of bats), non sequiturs (the oft-repeated Mexican Bat Dance gag actually turns out to be a literal key to the plot), silly names (the heroine’s chum is here called Lucy Lastic, detective Sheerluck Jones has a sidekick called PC World, and Dracula masquerades as wicked landlord ‘Lord Emo Globin’), and patter routines (heroine Saphi does a rigmarole about her ‘vampire dampener’). It’s all on youtube in 26 blurry chunks.
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