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Vampirette (Manchester)

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
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Vampire stories always have certain things in common, fangs, biting, blood, sexual desire and gothic undertones.Well, they  did until now. Vampirette manages to miss the mark on nearly everything it sets out to achieve, and judging from what is currently on stage at the Manchester Opera House, that was not very much in the first place.  
The story (what little there is) tells the tale of a the title character who just wants to be normal and find love, but since she is a vampire, normal is the last thing her life will ever be. Throw in a reporter trying to expose vampires and a love interest who comes from a family who are a threat to our pale skinned friends and that’s pretty much it.
Nothing in this show makes sense, a big deal is made out of the reporter taking photos of the bat clan because legend says that they would not show up on photos thus exposing the vampires, yet at the Mother's Fashion Show (don’t ask) the place is surrounded with paparazzi taking their pictures. The Vampires as bats are spotted flying during the day..... you know, in sunlight and so on and so on.  A story about Vampirette choosing not to eat is touched on, yet it’s abandoned for most of Act 2 and never spoken about again. The night sees one inconsistency after another.

You could argue that this is not supposed to be high art. But even Twilight makes sense to Twi-hards - this tale almost feels like it's being made up as they go along. Worse yet is the dreadful direction by Ed Curtis who has all the cast directing their lines to the audience rather than looking at each other. The choreography whilst energetic is uninspired and often unrelated to the songs, and the songs themselves have no business being in a vampire musical, since they are all far too twee (except "Total Eclipse of the Heart" which is staged so badly it drew giggles for all the wrong the reasons).
The cast however try hard for the most part, yet only Stuart Matthew Price rises above the horrible script and Caroline Deverill sings with such beauty on her only song that you long to see and hear more. The whole cast deserve praise for trying to keep the piece moving though.

Sadly, Lauren Samuels who has a lovely singing voice barely registers as Vampi - the title role as the character is so bland and underdeveloped, as are most of the others. I must say however that the ensemble work incredibly hard and I spent much of the night watching them giving everything it every thing they have.
Vampirette comes after the mess that was Monkee Business (which was part of the Manchester Get’s it First campaign). Sadly, if we carry on getting shows like this then the great reputation the city has garnered via Ghost will be gone.

Staging Vampirette as a fun sing-a-long 'camp as Christmas' night out is fine, as I love the lightweight energetic comedy shows as much as the next person, but sadly this has very little to offer.  Here's hoping that the next premiere will be something far more exciting because this show just sucks.

- Craig Hepworth


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