THE Harlequin Theatre’s production of Dracula promises an exhilarating night of Hallowe’en horror next week.

Liz Lochhead’s stage version of Bram Stoker’s novel brings out all the elements of fear and fascination that have continued to grip readers, audiences and film- goers ever since its publication in 1897.

The Gothic conventions of gloomy castles and the threat from supernatural evil to innocence and beauty are all here. Will love conquer evil? What is insanity?

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes a series of horrific discoveries about his client.

Soon, various bizarre incidents unfold in England: an apparently unmanned ship is wrecked off the coast of Whitby; a young woman discovers strange puncture marks on her neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of “the Master”.

Dracula is directed by Jon Kerr, the former Cheshire Theatre Guild adjudicator and award-winning director of Wind in The Willows and The Elephant Man.

He says: “Despite the soaring standard set by the last four or five Harlequin Theatre productions, the whole team has a single aim – to make Dracula our greatest work so far.”

Period costumes and stunning effects are being prepared to make the show leave an indelible bloodstain on the memory and the imagination.

The show features a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces, including Richard Sadler (Of Mice and Men), Naomi Savage (Accidental Death of An Anarchist), Matt Bird and Carmen Bowett (Pride and Prejudice), Matt Lambert (Dad’s Army), and Ben Brunsdon (The Elephant Man) with Adam Wade (Alice in Wonderland) and newcomer Judith Knight.

Dracula opens on Wednesday October 22 and runs until Saturday.

Tickets (£6, £5 for students) are available from the box office at the Northwich Information Centre (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, Sat 10am-noon) or by phone on 01606 353534. Payment can now also be made by credit card. A message should be left at busy times or out-of-hours.

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