Dracula descends on The Spring in Havant

Gemma Valler as Mina and Jonathan Grant as Dracula, in rehearsal for HumDrum's Dracula at The Spring, Havant, from October 17-20
Gemma Valler as Mina and Jonathan Grant as Dracula, in rehearsal for HumDrum's Dracula at The Spring, Havant, from October 17-20

Jonathan Harker is a solicitor’s clerk, sent to Transylvania by his employer to complete the sale of run-down Carfax Abbey to a Székely nobleman, a count of the noble line of the Dragon

After a terrifying journey he arrives at his host’s home – a desolate, cliff-top castle – and enters a hell, a nightmare that will consume him, his bride-to-be, her sister and all those nearest and dearest to them.

And so begins one of the most famous horror stories of all time – Dracula.

Following their award-winning performance of Mary, Queen of Scots, Got Her Head Chopped Off, HumDrum return to the work of Liz Lochead with her 1985 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 masterpiece.

Taking the lead as the eponymous count is Jonathan Grant, who is not only a newcomer to HumDrum, but is making his debut in amateur theatre 

‘This is my first proper role, the last time I did any theatre was back in primary school!’ says the 24-year-old. 

‘I’m getting into it now because I’ve finished my basketball – I played a lot of high level basketball, and as life goes on you grown up and do grown up things, and I thought: “I fancy a new challenge now.”

As is often the way with these things, a friend of a friend knew the show’s director James George, and had seen a Facebook post from James asking for tall people to audition. Knowing that he definitely fit the ‘tall’ part – he’s 6ft 8in, Jonathan thought he’d give it a go. 

‘Initially the fact that: “Oh god, I’m the main character!” it didn’t really come to mind. It was only once I started the rehearsals that it sunk in.

‘But I’ve slipped right in and I really like all of the people at the rehearsals and I’m learning a lot, I just need to start learning the lines now! It’s going really well though.’

And Jonathan admits he wasn’t hugely familiar with the actual original story.

‘I think I knew snippets of it and things. After the first time I went to James’s house to read the script I came home and told my girlfriend that I really liked it, so we went straight on to Netflix and watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Keanu Reeves and Gary Oldman, just to get an idea.’

As if taking the lead in his debut wasn’t enough, Jonathan is facing a more personal challenge.

‘When I said: “Yes” to James, I thought, “Oh no, what have I done?” because I’m quite heavily dyslexic with reading and memorising. But I think I can do it, it’s proving it to myself and proving it to other people.

‘It’s a new challenge and a bit of a laugh, but if I can hit the nail on the head… I’m up for it.’

‘James is really open to ideas from all of us as well, so if we feel something can be done differently, we’re confident enough to go James, by the way…

There’s some real knocks and tweaks and twists and shocks in the play. It’s going to sound and look great

Jonathan is hoping that the play will lead him to doing more shows.

‘I’d like to see where it takes me. Working with Humdrum is incredible, all of these things, like the costumes, even doing things like press.’

DRACULA

The Spring Arts Centre, Havant

October 17-20

thespring.co.uk