The MARCO Players

BASED on Bram Stoker's novel, Jane Thornton and John Godber’s adaptation of this classic story was brought to life by a talented team of actors with a contemporary feel throughout in terms of interpretation and direction. This ensemble piece was well received by a captive audience.

Director Martin Pearce, assisted by Fran Shinks has stylised this piece to within an inch of its life and has paid attention to detail regarding characterisation and technique, resulting in some standout performances and, where required, realistic physical theatre.

James Haslam’s controlled delivery as Jonathan Harker set the pace, setting the scene and opening the story well. Excellent performances from Zoe Molyneux as Lucy and Rhiann Millington as Mina were well delivered. Zoe came into her own as the story developed which allowed her to show the true grit of Lucy’s character.

Nicholas Edwards (Doctor Seward) and Brent Charlton (Arthur Holmwood) created the perfect partnership as they planned on how to save Arthur's intended, Lucy, from a fate worse than certain death. Matt Rigby offered a dramatic Dracula, dressed in black modern clothing; sinister without doubt but never evil.

Playing a mad man is not as easy as it sounds but Scott Jones made easy work of portraying Renfield, the demented servant whose off-the-wall one-liners were delivered with aplomb, ensuring we saw every facial expression that accompanied every word.

Completing the main line up, Ian Taylor was a convincing Abraham Van Helsing giving what proved to be a passionate and enthralling performance encompassing light and shade which led to a detailed interpretation of this role.

Support was provided by an ensemble that provided an array of realistic and well executed vocal sound effects, adding to the eeriness of this piece. Abide With Me, led by Ian Duckworth with the ensemble joining part way through was extremely poignant and vocalised with pitch perfect harmony that made this unaccompanied piece sound just beautiful.

This production more than did justice what we now know to be one of the popular novels ever written.

Paul Cohen