Love in the Time of Vampires

BATS Theatre, Wellington

18/02/2011 - 21/02/2011

NZ Fringe Festival 2011

Production Details

In his secluded mansion somewhere in the English countryside, Professor Kingsley’s dark and foreboding library may hold the key to humanity’s survival. With a gory vampire campaign set on enslaving the world, Kingsley’s small collection of survivors may be the last hope.

But when the body of his servant is found in the kitchens, drained of blood, it becomes clear that the true enemy is already amongst them.

Presented in conjunction with its sequels Love in the Time of Zombies and Love in the Time of Lawyers, this satirical horror is brought to you by the team which presented the Fringe ’09 sell-out, Lies & Other Stories Before Bed. This quirky number is the ideal starter to this year’s Fringe Festival.

Writer and Director Pachali Brewster is relishing the opportunity to present her first BATSTheatre production.

Vampires was born out of a personal creative challenge to write a 15 minute play in 12 hours. The brief was expanded to a trilogy, but for each act to be an independent story. The tone shifts between acts as they address themes of repression, love and self-fulfilment, and hint at sexuality and feminism.

Featuring David Lawrence (Henry V, No Taste Forever!), Kirsty Bruce (Henry V, The Merry Wives Of Windsor), Alice Carmody (Lies & Other Stories Before Bed), and newcomer Andreas Kullmann.

“I done what any normal person would have, sir. I killed him and ate him.” – Peaches, Love in the Time of Lawyers.

“I have such terrible taste in men. I’m actually a little surprised that I wasn’t murdered in cold blood and …” – Miss Marguerite, Love in the Time of Zombies.

“I am and have always been a fat, selfish bastard, and I’m not ashamed of it.” – The Judge, Love in the Time of Lawyers.

Love in the Time of Vampires
Friday Feb 18 -Monday Feb 21
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace
Tickets $16 Full/ $14 Concession/ $12 Fringe Addict
Book: / 802 4175 /  

David Lawrence
Kirsty Bruce
Alice Carmody
Andreas Kullmann.

Production & Crew
Producer: Alice Carmody
Production Manager/Publicist: Jackson Coe  
Lighting Designer/Operator: David Cathro
Stage Manager: Matt Bialostocki   

Deliciously coarse

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 21st Feb 2011

Love in the Time of Vampires is three short plays which were developed from a play that was written for the 24 Hour Titirangi Theatre Challenge. The challenge was to write a play in 12 hours for four actors and two props. A rope of garlic and a fire poker were the props and these objects inspired Pachali Brewster to come up with “a Victorian blame game, with a madman at its heart and a shocking twist.” Two further linked plays (skits might be a better description) were written to complete this cod Victorian melodrama and send up of the Vampire genre. 

There are some good jokes, some deliciously surrealistic ones (“My arch nemesis: a teapot!”), and plenty of action and plot surprises (mainly sexual), as well as a dryly funny narrator (Stuart Moore). There are some unpleasant visual bloody jokes which had some of the audience laughing and groaning at the same time.

David Lawrence as the madman swirls his cloak with gay abandon, his sidekick, played by Andreas Kullmann, sulks beautifully, while Kirsty Bruce as the lady of the piece and Alice Carmody as her vulgar servant are equal to the men in displays of coarse acting which are entirely appropriate for this late night caper.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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Absurdist madness relished

Review by John Smythe 19th Feb 2011

Love in the Time of Vampires started as a 12-hour short play writing challenge then two playlet sequels – Love in the Time of Zombies and Love in the Time of Lawyers – were added by writer /director Pachali Brewster. The result is a plot-thick hyper-acted romp, fun for the hour it lasts but leaving us little to chew on.  

As with improv, the audience response to a fast turnaround writing challenge will be entirely different than to plays written, revised and rehearsed over a longer period. Strong characters and a coherent plot, in inevitably comic form, are a minor miracle when created almost instantly, and the risk factor makes it all the more entertaining. Beyond that, theme is needed: the bit that’s bigger than the play itself; the thing that it’s really about; the X v Y that is the true source of the work’s dramatic energy …

Without exploring the psychological, allegorical and/or metaphorical dimensions that have given the vampire myth it longevity and continuing popularity in countless books, TV series and films, Brewster has lots of fun with the clichés of the genre, and her cast rise to the occasion with glee.

Stylistically it plays like three vaudeville melodramas, with broad characterisations and no attempt to pretend they are anywhere else but in a theatre, acting out an idea. Even so, emotional depth can be achieved, and sometimes is. Indeed without it melodrama is trite.

Relishing the pivotal madman role of Lord Kingsley (the first two plays are set on his remote English country estate), David Lawrence cracks the pace and plot along through its twists and convolutions. He constantly and randomly glances at the audience and could be directed to reduce these moments to much greater effect. Later in court, when in the role of Judge Kirby he selects a member of the audience to be foreman of the jury, “for reasons of budgetary constraints and metatheatricality,” the audience is cast in the public gallery so random eye contact with us is more justified.

Kingley’s lovelorn assistant Barnaby is ably played by Andreas Kullman, who also plays prosecution lawyer Baldwin. The love of the title(s) is, in part, his for Kingsley then Kirby.

Visiting the Kingsley Estate are Miss Marguerite (“The first female woman [sic] to be accepted into the secret society”) and her companion Peaches (“She’s teaching me to be a lydee she is”), between whom love also blossoms. Kirsty Bruce and Alice Carmody both find a bit more depth in their characterisations and play their roles with relish and good timing.

Bruce (or should I say Miss Marguerite) also plays Mandrake, the lawyer defending Peaches who is facing a murder charge having previously been murdered by her subsequent victim in an act, it is claimed, of “pre-emptive self-defence”. It’s amazing what can happen when you have acquired – at great expense – a vial of vampire blood … And blood there is aplenty.

Each playlet is introduced by a droll and suitably lugubrious narrator: Stuart Moore, who shares a co-writing credit for his bits.

(Possible spoiler warning, although I won’t give away the context)
There are some excellent moments of absurdist comedy – “Stand there and watch for signs of longevity, I’m going to bed”; “The teapot: my arch nemesis!”; “I did what any normal person would have done, your honour: I killed ’em and I et ’em.” – amid the melodrama. (ends)

Pachali Brewster has an active imagination, and writes good dialogue and action. Love in the Time of Vampires / Zombies / Lawyers is more motivated and therefore more engaging than last year’s Lies & Other Stories Before Bed. She dresses and decorates her dramas with lots of theatricality but to become a true playwright she needs to find out about the architecture and engineering dimensions of the craft.

The packed opening night audience (which seemed to include a lot of Irish people, one of whom was very drunk and had to be hushed by the audience), had a great time, accepting the show at its happily superficial level.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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