Panto star sinks his teeth into new Dracula theatre role

The cast of Dracula, from left, Alfie Joey, Sophie Catleugh and and David Hopper.
The cast of Dracula, from left, Alfie Joey, Sophie Catleugh and and David Hopper.

A panto star is sinking his teeth into a new theatrical challenge – a comic take on Bram Stroker’s Dracula.

David John Hopper is swapping his colourful Arbuthnot costume for something more macabre in Dracula: The Travesty, which runs at The Customs House from Halloween from Wednesday, October 31, to Saturday, November 3.

Alfie Joey.

Alfie Joey.

The comedy has been written by award-winning playwright Stewart Howson, with additional material provided by Hopper, who plays Dracula in the play.

He will be joined on stage by BBC Radio Newcastle presenter and one half of The Mimic Men, Alfie Joey, and newcomer Sophia Catleugh - a recent graduate of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA).

The three actors will play 20 characters in total.

Hopper said: “I’m really pleased to have Alfie on board. He is referred to by many as ‘the nicest man in showbiz’ and it’s clear to see why on stage and off-stage. He is someone who I have wanted to collaborate with in a while.

Some bits are just plain daft.

David John Hopper

“Sophia is also a great addition to The Customs House team, a recent graduate from LIPA. I expect this will be one of many amazing performances we will see from her.”

Howson is an experienced playwright with many professional productions to his name. His work has been nominated for the Northern Electric award and he is a LWT/TMA Plays on

Stage award winner.

He is also an experienced actor in film, TV, radio and theatre, appearing in the West End run of Up ‘n’ Under, Love Actually and several series of Emmerdale and Byker Grove.

Sophia Catleugh

Sophia Catleugh

He said: “Dracula: The Travesty is exactly what the original meaning of the word travesty was – a comedic send up of a serious piece. It has elements of physical theatre, stand-up and comedy routines dating back to commedia only now seen in panto.

“Some bits are just plain daft, however despite the daftness, the piece does hold the Bram Stoker novel, if not in respect, than never in contempt.

“The climatic flight at The Borgo Pass is read straight from the book by the cast and genuinely holds an audience with its tension and drama.”

Dracula: The Travesty is produced by The Customs House, in association with Northumberland Theatre Company, which first toured the play in 2016.

David John Hopper as Dracula.

David John Hopper as Dracula.

Performances are at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm Saturday matinee. The recommended age is 12+ due to the amount of fake blood used on stage.

Tickets, priced from £15, are available from the box office.