DRACULA Poirot vs Loki
released 6 October 114 minutes | cd
Publisher bbc audio
After ten years interred in the Broadcasting House vault, the BBC World Service’s adaptation of Liz Lochhead’s play of Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been exhumed. Why? Because it’s got that Tom Hiddleston giving voice to article clerk Jonathan Harker, sent to Transylvania to put Count Dracula’s more mundane affairs in order, that’s why.
Hiddleston’s Harker sounds exactly like you’d expect. David Suchet’s Dracula is partly in the Bela Lugosi tradition, welishing evewy opportunity to enunciate a heavily-accented double entendre: “I have supped earlier,” he tells Harker, “but I will serve you… weeeth pleasure.” It’s when the Count’s put-on performance lapses, though, that Suchet’s own sprouts wings: “Ach, ‘dem-ocrass-ee’!” he complains. “The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in this time of dishonourable peace…”
That’s why the Count is preparing to emigrate, of course. But Lochhead’s retelling emphasises that late Victorian England has horrors enough of its own, as evinced by the grotesque treatments endured by fly-eating paranoid schizophrenic Renfield – and later, Dracula’s victim Lucy, too – inside Dr Seward’s truly gothic asylum. Alan Barnes
In 2006, David Suchet also played Dracula’s nemesis Van Helsing, in a BBC TV adaptation.