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dance Review Theatre

Sink Your Teeth into Dracula: A Bloody Brilliant Ballet (2020)

“Bloody brilliant ballet returns to Perth”
Featured image by Bradbury Photography

After two years in the coffin, Dracula returns during unprecedented times! The production returns for a highly anticipated 14-show run at His Majesty’s Theatre from 11-26th September, with the doors of the Edwardian theatre safely thrown open for audiences to witness WA’s very own Dracula.

The company has expertly utilised the theatre’s foreground, midground, and background with amazing set design, atmospheric lighting, and dramatic choreography that engages all corners of the audience’s perceptions. Viewers will always find something new amidst the beautifully macabre, and seductive, story of Dracula.

Some alterations come as part of the revamp of Dracula 2020, including the use of a soft dress in the first scene (instead of a manikin), and the inclusion of Joshua Davis as he strengthens the robust arrangement laid down by Michael Brett – delivering a cavalcade of emotional notes to the electric performance – which some hardcore patrons might notice differ from the original 2018 production. 

Matthew Lehmann shines in the darkness, as Young Dracula, mirrored by Aurélien Scannella (the Artistic Director of the WA Ballet) as Old Dracula – who move with such distinguished choreography, that makes the transitions so immersive and seamless. Oscar Valdes and Carina Roberts, as Jonathan and Mina Harker respectively, bring with them the dark romance of the gothic age – beautifully elegant, enticing, thrilling, and strong. With the ensemble cast proving that dance is not the only strength of the Ballet Company, but also stage presence – the cohort of vampires with Dracula’s Brides bring a decay-dance atop coffins before the conclusion of act one.

Carina Roberts & Matthew Lehmann as Mina Harker & Young Dracula. Photo by Bradbury Photography.

A special acknowledgement goes out to the costume department, who have provided such intricate designs that emulate the age – beautiful furs, coats, and dresses – and to the amazing corpse de ballet who wore them with ease and elegance. 

The second act was heavy with narrative, with ballet dancers incorporating torment and anguish within their movements. The tense use of piano, cello, and other amazing instruments from the talented orchestra pit, added to the emotional investment of the audience.

With audiences murmuring, “it feels good to be back in the theatre,” the WA Ballet has brought a powerful performance back to the community. Patrons were brought to tears, one member saying: “not a word, or note, just their bodies. So beautiful!”

Although the WA Ballet’s Dracula is currently sold out, you can keep up to date with the performance on Facebook and Instagram.

by JOSHUA HALL HAINES
Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Press Company

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