A Tyneside playwright is getting his teeth into a challenge that will see him take a comic spin on Dracula to the Whitby setting of Bram Stoker’s famous novel.
Ed Waugh will be presenting his new work Dracula: Die Laughing at Whitby Goth Weekend next April, the hugely popular twice-yearly event which attracts thousands of fans of Stoker’s blood-sucking anti-hero.
But, to ensure he doesn’t get it in the neck from Dracula enthusiasts, the writer will be trying out his material in the North East first, in the run-up to Halloween, with the comedy play’s debut taking place in Durham tonight.
Ed more usually writes in partnership with Trevor Wood and their past successes include Dirty Dusting and, most recently, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Durham - a comic rollercoaster through local history - which was commissioned in celebration of the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels.
But this spoof, which Ed says is actually nothing like the original Dracula story but is “canny funny”, is a solo work inspired by a friend of his who went to the Whitby Goth Weekend last year.
“He never stopped talking about it,” says Ed, “so I agreed to go with him next year but I felt, if we were going. it should be with a play.
“Everyone knows about Dracula being a vampire, and how it was at Whitby that he first came ashore.
“I felt we could have great fun with a spoof about Dracula being a bit past his best and, being pursued by vampire hunters, takes refuge at the Whitby Goth Weekend.
“We spoke to the organisers and they want to include us in the official programme alongside the bands, so we are delighted to be an integral part of the event next April.”
First, the show, featuring cast members Corrine Kilvington, Paul Dunn, Lauren Waine and Craig Richardson, will be fine-tuned during its North East tour.
It makes its debut at Collingwood College, Durham University, in South Road, Durham, tonight (call 0191 334 5172 for tickets), then can be seen upstairs in the Magnesia Bank pub in Camden Street, North Shields, (0191 257 8392) tomorrow, followed by upstairs in the Isis pub in Silksworth Row, Sunderland (0191 514 7684) on Thursday to Saturday.
Its director Gareth Hunter of Ion Productions explained: “We want to run it at intimate venues in preparation for the Whitby event and a regional tour next year.
“The script is hilarious, and the show will include audience interaction.”
Cast member Lauren, from Seaburn, Sunderland, a former member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, said: “Die Laughing is a hilarious spoof of the Dracula genre.
“It will be just that, a fantastic laugh.”
The talented 17-year-old, who will be playing Sleeping Beauty in this year’s Christmas pantomime at the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre and is also making a name for herself in her band The Lauren Waine Duo, here plays a vampire hunter on the hunt for Dracula.
Gareth added: “This is Dracula as never seen before. People will actually feel sympathy for the poor old soul!”
He added: “People are welcome to come in Gothic costume.”
Alongside the range of music and laid-back atmosphere, dressing up is one of the main attractions at the Whitby Goth Weekend which takes place in both April and October and draws crowds of around 12,000 people, including visitors from around the world.
Dracula: Die Laughing is suitable for 14-plus. Tickets, costing £8 (£5 unwaged), are available from the venues above or via the Dracula: Die Laughing Facebook site. All shows will start at 7.30pm.