The character of Dracula needs no introduction or explanation. The vampiric Count was created by Irish author, Bram Stoker. The book was published in 1897 and subsequently, numerous appearances of Dracula on stage and screen have ensued.
The Ballet currently being performed at Queensland Performing Arts Centre is a co-production with West Australian Ballet. The Polish composer, Wojciech Kilar is renowned for his award winning film scores.
Also from Poland, the choreographer, Krzystof Pastor is much acclaimed and decorated. He has cleverly interpreted a complex tale and translated it into a compelling ballet. In the staging, clearly and successfully, there is a vast difference between the societal order in London and the evil of Transylvania.
The colourful, ballroom gaiety in London, with meticulous attention to manners and social norms initially felt like a safe place to look upon. It contrasted starkly with the evil gloom of Dracula’s Transylvanian castle and its ghastly goings on. Dracula, however, is invasive and everywhere. Nowhere and no one is safe from his fangs.
The Asylum scenes added an additional element of menace and instability and another opportunity for Dracula’s predatory appearance. D’Arcy Brazier was an unforgettable inmate as Renfield.
Victor Estevez as always is consistently outstanding in any given role. In this production: Young Dracula. Senior Soloist, Alexander Idaszak played Old Dracula. Their names heading the printed cast list looked fittingly regal, even gothic.
I was though, somewhat perplexed as to Dracula’s ageing process whilst other characters remained the same. Impressive to note and mention that his swirling cloak weighed in at a hefty nine kilograms.
Queensland Ballet Company clearly showed their ability to adapt to choreography which is essentially contemporary. They are wonderful dancers and were all convincing in their respective roles.
However, despite the guidance of the synopsis, I felt some confusion as the characters and the story seemed to blur together. At times, I felt like I was watching repeated scenes and scenarios.
In its entirety as produced and presented, it is a long, somewhat slow production. I wondered if it would work better in an abbreviated form utilising and highlighting the most dramatic moments.
Dracula is not the best ballet I have seen performed by Queensland Ballet. However, there is definitely scope for the successful future presentation of dramatic excerpts from this production. Starring of course, Dracula.
Lyric Theatre – QPAC, Corner Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Brisbane
Performance: Wednesday 24 November 2021
Season continues to 4 December 2021
For more information, visit: www.queenslandballet.com.au for details.
Image: Victor Estevez as Dracula – photo by David Kelly
Review: Michele-Rose Boylan