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THEATRE: 13 JANUARY 2017

By SANDRA BOWDEN

Nosferatutu … or Bleeding at the Ballet, by Tommy Bradson | Directed by Sheridan Harbridge

Griffin Independent (http://www.griffintheatre.com.au) & Virginia Hyam Productions | SBW Stables Theatre, Darlinghurst, Sydney | Until 21 January

Nosferatutu such a clever name for a show about a ballet that is interrupted by a vampire. When I first saw the title, I questioned whether it came first and the production was built around it.

It doesn’t matter. The concept turns out to be as brilliant as the title, and has commenced the 2017 theatrical year with (literally) a bang.

The musicians (Steven Kreamer, Sally Schinckel-Brown, Olga Solar) are set on a tiny, hazy stage. Kreamer introduces the Dancer (Brandyn Kaczmarczyk), ready to perform his one-man Swan Lake.

A pale figure in the front row applauds enthusiastically as the music begins. The Dancer’s tall frame manages a few graceful turns in the cramped space before the passionate patron leaps from his seat and plants pointy teeth right into the jugular.

As bloodstains — and the Dancer — slide down the wall, Nosferatutu (Tommy Bradson), a vampire with serious self-esteem issues and a desire to dance, takes on the remainder of the show. With the assistance of the terrified usher (Sheridan Harbridge), Swan Lake must go on.

Bradson’s credits as a writer and artist exemplify his eclectic approach to performance. From his growing collection of one-man shows and his 2013 collaboration with Harbridge on a Reg Livermore retrospective (REG), to his most recent venture into children’s theatre (DUCKIE), Bradson crosses genre with joyful abandon.

Nosferatutu is a dazzling combination of dance, opera, cabaret, horror story, hilarity, and surprisingly poignant moments. Ballet interspersed with the story of little Kevin, desperate to dance like his sister but fated to an eternally lonely life: glorious singing from Bradson and Harbridge, switching from aria to pop with seamless comic timing.

Several times through the show, Nosferatutu berates himself for his weakness. Some of these moments brought the most laughs — and I won’t give away any of these gems — but for me, that little lonely (bloodthirsty) Kevin needed a bit more love.

So — Kevin, you are the beer tucked behind the veggie crisper when you thought you’d run out. Kevin, you are the twenty dollar bill found in the pants that haven’t been worn since last winter. Kevin, you are the upgrade to a suite when you booked a single with no bath.

Delicious. Unexpected. Divine.

All images: Lucy Parakhina