Vampirette – the name alone had me slightly worried. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I took my place inside the auditorium of the Manchester Opera House but I wasn’t expecting much to be honest.
This show tells the story of Vampi, a vampire girl who wants nothing more than to be a normal teenager – fashion, boys, the usual stuff. She meets Andrew, a friend of her brother Rudi, the two fall in love but of course he doesn’t know she’s a vampire. And than there’s the fact that Andrew’s last name is van Helsing and one of his ancestors has killed a member of Vampi’s family (yes, Dracula – you guessed it). To make things even worse the sleazy journalist Stanley Pea is on a mission to unveil the secret surrounding Vampi’s family.
It does sound like a bad piece of fanfiction, doesn’t it? And it would be just that if the show took itself seriously. However, Vampirette is a complete exaggeration of all those well-known vampire stories old and new. It’s a parody that takes the mickey out of every vampire cliché.
The cast is definitely the most outstanding part of this whole show. Jay Worthy as Dr. Acula and Caroline Deverill as Countess Zanguina do an all around great job. I have to mention their accents which are absolutely spot on throughout the show. Lauren Samuels plays Vampi(rette) and while her accent slipped a few times I enjoyed her performance. However the secret star of the show has to be Stuart Matthew Price as Andrew van Helsing who doesn’t just have an amazing voice, he also manages to make the audience laugh without turning his character into a complete fool. Adam C Booth plays Vampi’s brother Rudi – the stereotype of a playboy. While I loved his portrayal of the character (his facial expressions were hilarious!) I wasn’t totally convinced by his singing. His voice seemed a little weak especially compared to Stuart Matthew Price’s outstanding vocals. I wish Stanley Pea would get to sing a proper solo song – Norman Bowman has such a great voice and only gets to show it during the finale. I loved seeing him in this show though – he acts, he sings, he dances = triple treat.
The ensemble seemed a bit out of sync in parts but then one of the ensemble dancer had gone off with an injury the night before and without swings this ment last-minute changes with little to no chance to rehearse properly.
I really enjoyed Matthew Cole’s choreography which was passionate and vibrant. It’s great to see him do so well although I hope he won’t abandon his performing career completely.
Music wise this show definitely is a jukebox musical. From “Come fly with me” to “If you could read my mind” and “Moonlight shadow” – there wasn’t one song I didn’t recognise. I have to mention “Total eclipse of the heart” because the way they used and arranged that song was hilarious and rather brilliant. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the show but that scene was definitely the highlight of the show for me.
Maybe some of you have seen Rock of Ages – in case you have and you enjoyed it I’m pretty sure you will like Vampirette. If you love your Sondheim and nothing else – don’t bother with this show.
Vampirette is a funny feel-good musical that doesn’t want to deliver a complicated message. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not and that’s what makes it a good show. It’s not a revolution in musical theatre and I’m pretty sure it’s not ready for the West End (yet). But it’s enjoyable and deserves a place in the theatre landscape.
For more info on the show and to book tickets go to http://www.vampirettethemusical.com/. But be quick, the show finishes on May 19th!