Dracula, Sutton House

Two things I love, historic properties and a bit of horror. Quite frankly, this was my idea of a perfect evening.

Tea Break Theatre’s play begins with a ‘National Trust tour guide’ announcing we will be given a tour of the property prior to the play. It soon became apparent the ‘tour guide’ was not all that she seemed as she appeared to eat spiders and seemed preoccupied as she fumbled through her words– ah she’s an actor! As some of the audience members become disgruntled it soon became clear part of our fellow audience were also actors. Various bangs and lights out truly created a level of uneasiness. I’m a newbie to immersive theatre so straight away I was unsettled…but I liked it!

About 20 or so minutes in we time travel back to Victorian Hackney and the story really begins. Lucy who had previously starred as an audience member becomes desperately ill and her friends and fiancé flock around her in her bedchamber.  The first act ends as she ‘dies’ and is resurrected as a vampire.

The beginning of the second half offered a truly wonderful theatrical experience as the rain came down in the dark courtyard of Sutton House, actors in Victoria garb and Lucy suddenly appearing with blood stained dress and vampire canines.

The second half sees us time travel again to the 16th century. The story weaving through the centuries is a clever nod to the property’s history although becomes confusing in parts. Although the second half didn’t maintain the early level of scares I still held a level of uneasiness throughout the remainder of the play. The dramatic ending of the play took place as we were locked into the claustrophobic cellar, a clever location for the climax of this unsettling play.

The actors provided good performances and the incorporation of the house and the local area into the story was clever. I must admit I lost all track of time, I felt on edge throughout and I loved it! I can’t think of a better Halloween treat than this!
Dracula is on at Sutton House until 4 November http://www.teabreaktheatre.com/dracula17 

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