MICF: Spiderlash, Vampire Vaudeville

A some of you might have guessed from reading these reviews, I am indeed Satan. I loathe middle-of-the-road blandness, and love a bit of mischief. My job as dark lord incarnate means that I get to check things out for myself, which is evil because the internet doesn’t always give the full picture. This is certainly true for Dracula’s theatre restaurant. After my first inspection, I was well-pleased with the work of my minions in Spiderlash, Vampire Vaudeville. The team gave us a well-produced cabaret show, and understand that there has to be an entertaining seduction, without sleaze, to corrupt some souls.

Spiderlash at Dracula's
Spiderlash at Dracula’s

Word of mouth terms such as “crass” put me off dinner theatre. Then I saw Mike McLeash reflect on his experiences working in the medium between other gigs in The World is Winning, which pricked my interest. Now I have great respect for the deftness of Dracula’s balancing act, which begins as you enter the foyer. We’re directed away from the straight world outside by staff in fish-net stockings and overbust corsets that flirt with fetishism without confronting the punters. Atmosphere is created by a camp gothic decor, and there’s a bit of silliness before you are seated in the theatre proper. Some mortality-themed live music accompanies the start of the three course meal that precedes the show.

And what a show! This is no half-arsed cape panto in front of a cheap curtain. Right from the bedazzling introduction where players interact with a video screen, the audience was able to gorge on a range of highly entertaining vaudeville and musical acts. The balancing act continues as musicians Vlad (Finn Cooney), Fang (David Small) and Lucifer (Matthew Garwood) give us covers of tunes that are alternative without alienating the diverse audience, and I wanted to pump my fists to Muse’s “Uprising”, come on!


Surprises across the two acts of the program help to make this show so hellishly hot, so it’s not fair to ruin too much of the entrapment for you.  Just to give a taste, our femme fatales not only sing well in their routines, they work off novel props. Aorta (Philippa Harrison) grabbed my black heart with some skillful burlesque and Violent Crumble (Gillian Perry) shattered the crowd with comedic flair. The costumes and lighting further demonstrated the professionalism and thoroughness of the design team. If I had to quibble, a hoop act was an unfortunately meek interlude in a show that beelzebubbles along with all the thrills of a graveyard train.

Serving food with broad appeal is probably a difficult task. The freshness of a canapé made it the best morsel of the night and our entrees had good flavour. Connoisseurs might have hoped for a less commercial taste in their Death by Chocolate, however presentation of the dessert and main are nasty touches in the schlock-horror theme of the night.

Spiderlash at Dracula
Spiderlash at Dracula’s

There’s a lot of wicked work going on at Dracula’s, including from the waitstaff who are efficient, attentive and contribute to the atmosphere. While it’s devilishly cheeky for this variety show with some comedy to be in the MICF program, as it delivers plenty of entertainment value you’d have to be pretty uptight to worry about labels. I loved it even more than tearing out sphincters and spontaneously combusting pink kittens.

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