The Wardrobe Theatre Christmas show is something of a Bristol institution. Serving as an adult alternative to the usual festive fare, there are two main requirements they must fulfil: to mash up two well-known stories (in this case Dracula and Jack and Jill), and to be utterly, relentlessly filthy.
The psycho-sexual territory of vampire lore provides ample scope for raunchiness. There are ‘Mean Girl’ nuns who talk in elaborate double entendre, vampire brides who like to be punished, and a Dracula who has a magnificent golden dildo extruding from his trousers at all times.
Such a show risks puerility, but Tom Brennan’s devised production steers a steady course, framing its dick jokes with impeccable craft. They are as irresistible as the iron tang of fresh blood.
The cast rip through an array of crisply drawn comedy characters; there’s Alice Lamb’s misfit nun (anger management issues), Tom Fletcher’s retired vampire hunter (Wednesday night karaoke, “I’m out of the game”), Caitlin Campbell’s prim English lady (who undergoes a lesbian awakening) and Corrina Buchan’s Count Drac (did I mention the dildo?). As the show’s collaboratively authored, each delicious one-liner and sight gag plays to each actor’s strengths.
There are many more influences in the melting pot, from The Sound of Music and Star Wars, to the Midsommar-esque murals on Ruby Spencer Pugh’s pagan set and Jack Drewry’s style-hopping sound. It makes for a rich pop-culture tapestry, stitched together with a fluent cinematic vernacular, comic virtuosity and technical finesse.