A postcard review of Vertigo Theatre’s Dracula: The Bloody Truth

Vertigo Theatre opened their latest production, Dracula: The Bloody Truth this past Thursday to a packed house. Caroline Russell-King gives us the low-down on the show in her latest postcard review.

Show: Dracula: The Bloody Truth.

Playwright/composer: Le Navet Bete & John Nicholson.

Production Company/Theatre space: Vertigo Theatre in The Playhouse at Vertigo.

Length: Two Acts (Just over two hours with intermission).

Genre/s: Farce.

Premise: Blah, blah Theatre … blah, blah Dracula … the plot is really immaterial on this wild lazzi train ride!

Why this play? Why now?: It’s nice to have a broad comedy at this time of year, and the subject matter squeaks in under the mystery/horror Vertigo mandate (but would be just as at home at Stage West – and that’s the bloody truth!).

Curiosities: Without giving too much away, I appreciated the use of the stuffed cat and the pretend bird but I wondered about the live plant. We noted the comic homage to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in Mark Bellamy’s dance routine and I wondered (along with others) if the obvious parody to Freddie’s Queen (since it’s in the zeitgeist) was considered a bridge too far?

Notable lines: “Take a deep breath of this.” (In context is capital “F” funny.)

Notable writing: This marks the first time the play has been licensed in North America as this show is playing to sold-out houses in the UK.

Notable performances: It really is a crack team; Stafford Perry is the toothsome clown in the title role, Chris Hunt is one of Calgary’s favourite farceurs, Julie Orton proves again why she is the comedy-go-to-gal, and Natascha Girgis channels her inner brilliant Buster Keaton.

Notable design: Not necessarily design but recognition needs to go the stage management team under the cool-headed Michael Howard, because every night they will be working as hard off as the actors are onstage.

Notable direction: Directed within an inch of its life by Craig Hall and assisted by Ellen Close, I imagine these seasoned actors contributed a lot in the rehearsal hall also, to wring out a laugh with every cue, costume, set piece, and prop.

One reason to see this show: If shtick was an Olympic sport, this team would win gold.

(Cast photo by Citrus Photography, costumes by Deitra Kalyn, set by Scott Reid, lighting by Anton de Groot.)

Dracula: The Bloody Truth runs at Vertigo Theatre until Dec. 9.

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work at