Castles, coffins, Transylvanian peasants and transformations into bats are off the agenda for renowned Polish company TR Warszawa's brooding stage version of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'. But so long as you're not here for cheap thrills – and you're at the Barbican, ferchrisssake – then 'Nosferatu' should shiver your spine a treat.
It's loosely based around the Whitby-set section of the book, and here the main characters – Mina, Quincey, Seward, Arthur et al – are living together in a sort of immense gothic yuppie pad, all minimalist modern furniture and billowing old velvet curtains that usher in dry ice (and worse).
As the play begins, gorgeous Lucy (Sandra Korzeniak) is fading with a sickness induced by some unseen bloodsucker. But in one of countless departures from Stoker, the bloodsucker (Wolfgang Michael), a knackered old vampire with a thick German accent, proceeds to come round to dinner.
In his dreamlike fashion – with plenty of visual nods to the golden age of horror flicks – auteur director Grzegorz Jarzyna lays out a vision of an exhausted masculinity, a roomful of feeble men with nothing to look forward to beyond a boring immortality.
It is the women – Korzeniak's Lucy and Katarzyna Warnke's disdainful Mina – who provide this creepingly erotic, visually ravishing piece with its real sense of menace, as Jarzyna cannily amplifies the fear of sex that pervaded the novel into something much more dangerous.
Average User Rating
1.8 / 5
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- 4 star:2
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- 1 star:6
Best play I've seen in a while. Yes, it's not full of action so some people can find it slow or boring but for me it was great. Worth every penny! Highly recommend!
It is funny how many people in their reviews use the word 'slow' as an insult. I am not sure when the two blended into one but it surely was a very sad moment. No wonder though, spending almost 2 HOURS (that is 120 precious minutes!!) with one's own head must be unbearable for some; or BORING if you like. I enjoyed the play a lot. It was coming close to the cheese side of matters at a few points, mostly due to the dialogue, but the general very 20s noir mood, beautiful and really tasteful set design and wonderful acting did make up for it.
I shouldn't laugh but the chap next to me fell asleep and his wife thought he was ill, rushed out and called the emergency services. It was the most exciting thing that happened all evening.
Acting was questionable. There was pretty much no set. Music was generic 'Vampire' organ music. Dialogue was boring and there was no introduction of characters (I have never read the book. I still don't know who Mina is and why she is there). Disappointed.
Risible adaptation of Dracula; poor scripting, acting and set design. By the end of two hours of flaccid plot and silly cod-philosophy my overwhelming feeling was one of boredom. It simply defies belief that Timeout could give this four stars. I gave it one star mainly out of charity.
The star is for comedy value. We were not the only people laughing by the end. Indecipherable. This will be popular with 15 year old school boys who are looking for some titillation. Pun intended.