"Widely understood to have been the intended first chapter of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ – removed when regarded as superfluous to the rest of the novel – in this adaptation, we saw the importance of Dracula’s Guest reinstated. James Hyland has reawakened this somewhat neglected tale, providing it with new meaning and using it as a vessel to explore modern-day themes. The play began with an already tortured R.M. Renfield, practically writhing in his seat, conveying to us that we arrived at the character’s story long after it had begun. The decision to use Renfield – an already mentally unwell character – as Dracula’s guest, was an interesting one but worked perfectly to highlight themes of madness and manipulation, also allowing exploration and expansion of such an interesting character. Played by Michael Shon, Renfield’s ‘sanguine personality’ which he was said to have possessed in the original telling of Dracula, had evidently been drained from him, following mental and emotional torture from his host. Dracula’s calculated maddening tactics show him essentially gaslighting Renfield, in a deliberate attempt to drive him insane. We see Dracula – played terrifically by James Hyland – toying with him at every word, like a cat to a mouse; it’s almost comical for the audience until deeper and darker themes are uncovered. Upon leaving the theatre I heard an audience member describe the performance as short, but remarkably intense which seems an apt summary. Hyland and Shon transformed Dracula’s Guest, delivering a 124-year-old tale as if it were new. This was the perfect choice of story to breathe new life into, applicable to modern-day themes yet true to Victorian gothic horror."

Rating: ★★★★★

~Eloise Lonsdale, OX MAGAZINE

Original Source: www.oxmag.co.uk/articles/review-draculas-guest

"It's not often I come across an adaptation as startlingly original, and yet true to its source material, as Brother Wolf's "Dracula's Guest". From the off, we are treated to a detailed character study involving two nuanced individuals who, through no fault of their own, are slaves to their fate and thus prisoners to its demands. Suffice to say, it is a truly intense theatrical experience, the quality of which rivals the very best of what the West End has to offer. As a Gothic horror aficionado, I can honestly say that "Dracula's Guest" is, at least for me, the Godfather of vampire adaptations. Unique, powerful and timely with thrilling performances by two actors at the top of their game. Absolutely unmissable."

 Rating: ★★★★★


"Described as 'based on the works of Bram Stoker', I wondered – is this going to be an adaptation of the eponymous short story? Or something else entirely? The play opens with a twitchy, dishevelled and distinctly haggard-looking young man, seated at a long dining table upon which is placed a severed pig’s head on a silver salver. The young man is soon joined by an older, more urbane looking man who addresses him as Mr. Renfield….  So, this is obviously not a reworking of Stoker's short story about the unnamed traveller who takes an excursion to an abandoned village on Walpurgis Night and finds himself sheltering from a snowstorm in a derelict graveyard… Perhaps, then, we are being told Renfield’s backstory – before he ends up in Dr. Seward’s asylum? But no, this reworking of Dracula's story has a rather different emphasis. Revisiting the series of conversations between Dracula and Jonathan Harker in Stoker's novel, here we have chartered surveyor Renfield, who - like Harker – now realises he is a prisoner rather than a 'guest', and is becoming ever more desperate. Dracula, meanwhile, appears charming, hospitable and plausible – yet will not let Renfield leave his castle. And it is the discussion between the two protagonists that is the focus of the play. Dracula has become embittered after reliving centuries of memories – of lost love, and past glories defending his country from invaders, while Renfield espouses the values of Victorian expansionism. The debate increases in intensity as Dracula reveals the only terms upon which Renfield can leave, and we arrive at the final, gory and blood-spattered, climax. Excellent performances from Michael Shon as Renfield and James Hyland as Dracula; in the intimate enclosed space of the White Bear theatre, this is just about the most intense 55 minutes of drama you’re ever likely to encounter.


"An INCREDIBLE performance... 55 minutes of nerve-shredding suspense and a final scene that's guaranteed to shock you out of your seat and give you nightmares for weeks. This diabolical descent into Victorian Gothic horror is a must-see."