Yesterday, I took another trip into Brighton for the second play on my Brighton Fringe 'Must See' list!
I've been past the theatre a few times, but aside from admiring the architecture, never realised that a theatre lay beyond those doors.
Unfortunately I couldn't get a decent photo of the venue as the traffic and parking in that area is endless!
Upon arrival at the theatre, everyone was directed into Bacall's, the theatre bar, which had lots of comfy seating and some nifty art deco style lighting!
After a few minutes wait, we were called to the auditorium. I was surprised to find not the usual kind of theatre seating, but instead small tables with chairs set around them, each with a candle burning behind red glass. Add to that the haze of smoke, and the scene was most definitely set!
Performed by a cast of three - Jack Klaff, Cary Crankson and Anna-Maria Nabirye - Vlad the Impaler was superbly acted. The latter two actors switched swiftly between roles, becoming entirely different people with the aid of a single change of prop. Meanwhile Klaff's Vlad was powerful, poetic, and perhaps a little mad.
Of course, this play would not exist without Richard Crane's great script! Equal parts dark and comedic, the script had some brilliant one-liners but also some great speeches. The play included poems by Marin Sorescu (whose work the play was imspired by) and Mihai Eminescu, which was set to music by Vlad Maistorovici. The composer had created a fantastic score to accompany the play, which really strengthened the atmosphere within the room.
The fact the Rialto is a small, intimate theatre enhanced the experience, drawing the audience into the story: we were watchers, we were beggars, we were the impaled.
Supported by the Arts Council, Vlad the Impaler was produced by Brighton Theatre, in association with Oran Mor Glasgow and the Romanian Cultural Institute.
The cast and crew have a fair few achievements under their belts, so although this play lacked extravagant sets and expensive costumes, it was extremely well executed!
Really, everyone involved deserves a massive clap on the back.
Although I went to see this play knowing about Vlad the Impaler's life (hurrah for books!) I think I would have still enjoyed it without that prior knowledge. I went to this play alone, so don't have anyone to compare notes with as I did with Blithe Spirit!
Vlad the Impaler is being performed at The Rialto Theatre until 10th May 2015. Tickets are available via the Brighton Fringe website.)