DRACULA Poirot vs Loki

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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