Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

Vampirette

Jonathan Choat
Nexus Communications
Opera House, Manchester
04 May 2012 to 19 May 2012

Well it’s not the new Rocky Horror Show; and it’s not a musical comedy version of “Twilight” either.

In fact expect anything resembling a fully finished, clever and funny musical comedy and you won’t go home too happy.

Which is a shame because this new musical - another Manchester premiere - at least has some idea that it wants to be a knowing, vamp-orientated, funny night out with some good songs thrown in. It just doesn’t achieve it.

Vampirette is yet another jukebox show, in this case mixing a vampire-based comedy set in the present with pop songs from the past 40 years or so - everything from “Twilight Time” to “Young Blood”; “Windmills of your Mind” to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, the last of those the act one finale and the evening’s best scene, complete with flying parents.

Young Vampirette has her doubts about being a vampire; her brother Rudy fancies a human. Mum and dad - Zanguina and Dr Acula - are worried about both of them, about living in the city and in mum’s case, about finishing her, er, dress collection, while the evil press ferrets out their secrets. 

Worse, newly-qualified haematologist Andrew Helsing falls for young “Vampy” and dad is understandably horrified. Can young blood triumph? Obviously yes.

That’s pretty much it. Everything is resolved with singing, rather a lot of dancing and occasionally funny lines, and you’re out of the theatre by 9.20pm. 

Every comedy needs a tone and while this one starts well with a solid, well-lit set, nice lighting touches and a few running gags, it doesn’t go anywhere and there is precious little detail or cleverness.

Writer Jonathan Choat underwrites badly. The script achieves both thinness and wordiness, which is no mean feat, and isn’t nearly funny enough, though there are inklings of a good show in there.

The cast, nonetheless, is both entertaining and strong of voice, particularly Lauren Samuels and Stuart Matthew Price as the unhappy couple. 

Jay Worthy and Caroline Deverill as the parents and Adam C Booth as the son are all given far too little to do. Matthew Rixon likewise as faithful servant Igor.

If only the same effort and creativity had gone into the show as has been put into the superb, comic-book style souvenir brochure...

Reviewer: Paul Genty

Comments

Comment by Alan Hulme

Spot on Paul, unlike the show, unfortunately. A sing-a-long at the end, with the audience ordered to its feet, may send the punters out on to Quay Street with a spring in their step but it doesn't make up for the rest of the lack lustre evening.  

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