Synopsis: When a young solicitor, Jonathan Harker, visits the heart of Transylvania – ostensibly to meet reclusive nobleman Count Dracula – he cannot begin to imagine what horrors might lie in store for him there… or the chain of events he will set in motion at Castle Dracula.
Soon, Dracula’s bloodlust spreads to England’s shores, and Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray, becomes embroiled in his affairs. Her best friend, Lucy Westenra, falls victim to the vampire’s thirst, and it is only with the help of an unlikely bunch of allies that the Count might be defeated… but can the undead ever truly perish?
Review: According to the extra interviews, Mark Gatiss spent his childhood re-enacting Christopher Lee’s death throws in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. That formative enthusiasm for the role was on full display in Big Finish’s production.
Gatiss didn’t aim for the camp of Lee’s later Dracula films, however. Instead, he brought the more subtly tinged menace inherent in Bram Stoker’s original work.
Adapter Jonathan Barnes aided Gatiss in that effort by crafting a script that deftly balanced text with subtext. Dracula’s scenes with Mr Swales before he killed him and with the zoo keeper before he freed the wolf were excellent examples of this.
I also really appreciated that Barnes and actor Joseph Kloska truly highlighted the PTSD that Jonathan Harker suffered. Harker’s pain is definitely an element of the original Dracula story, but Stoker hadn’t the frame of reference to give it its proper due. Additionally, Barnes and actress Deirdre Mullins crafted a Mina Harker who acted every bit as strong as the heroine Stoker so bravely wrote ahead of his time.
Moreover, I was pleased to hear the full “Crew of Light” assembled. Barnes gave Nigel Betts’ Van Helsing, Rupert Young’s Seward, Alex Jordan’s Holmwood, and David Menkin’s Morris equal depth. So often, only Van Helsing, the Harkers, and Seward are represented in adaptions.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t assure lit geeks that Barnes kept the epistolary format of the book largely intact. I especially loved how the Big Finish sound engineers recreated Seward’s late Victorian recordings. Basically, Big Finish’s Dracula is review proof in the best ways, and I look forward to more entries of this quality in the Classics range.
- You can purchase Dracula Here
Producer/Script Editor Scott Handcock
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Bram Stoker, Dramatised by Jonathan Barnes
Directed By: Scott Handcock
Mark Gatiss (Count Dracula), Joseph Kloska (Jonathan Harker), Deirdre Mullins (Mina Murray), Nigel Betts (Abraham Van Helsing), Rupert Young (John Seward), Alex Jordan (Arthur Holmwood), David Menkin (Quincey P. Morris), Rosanna Miles (Lucy Westenra), Elizabeth Morton (Mary Westenra), Ian Hallard (Renfield), Edward Petherbridge (Mr Swales), Katy Manning (Sister Agatha).
Other parts played by members of the cast.
- Adaptation, Performances
- Not a thing wrong
- Sound production10