Comedy duo Innes Lloyd are back with some brand new MICF fare and it promises to be blood- curdling!
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the new show and with the plethora of films, TV shows and books that have been devised around this creature of the night and his somewhat carnal exploits, what could Innes Lloyd possibly have to offer that we haven’t seen before.
Well, according to one half of the creative team, Rob Lloyd, audiences can expect a good-old-fashion scary story with a modern kick in the pants. “The story of Dracula has been done a million times before but we’ve found some new little surprises along the way to make it worth the price of admittance,” he says. “We want it to be a nerdy little celebration of the characters, mythology, legacy and story of Dracula.”
And nerdy seems to be the operative word describing all things Innes Lloyd, and in particular when it came to choosing Dracula as the subject of choice for this year’s MICF.
“Innes and I always love to immerse ourselves in all things pop culture, that’s actually how we started our friendship, with long, in-depth nerdy conversations,” says Lloyd about his creative partner David Innes. “Pop culture was a huge part of both our childhoods, so much so that TV, film and literature really shaped our imaginations when we were young and we’ve always tried to keep a strong connection to that in the professional work we do in the comedy scene. In our work, we love blending classic literary characters and stories with the vast array of modern adaptations across multiple media.”
In 2017 the pair did this for the first time with their presentation of the ‘definitive’ interpretation of Jules Verne’s masterpiece Journey to the Centre of the Earth. “Innes and I loved the process so much we kind of decided it would be cool to do a trilogy of these classic adaptations,” says Lloyd. “Dracula seemed the next logical choice. Neither Innes nor I are what you would consider ‘hardcore’ Dracula fans but we do appreciate the character’s place in zeitgeist and there are so many incredible and cringe-worthy versions of the story that we couldn’t wait to incorporate. Innes is a huge fan of Christopher Lee’s portrayal of the character for Hammer Horror Films. Me personally I’m a fan of what Gary Oldman did.”
Back to literary basics, the pair read Stoker’s original for the first time in preparation and research for this show. “Stoker’s writing style is so evocative and poetic it’s a dense but fulfilling read,’ says Lloyd of the masterpiece.
Dracula has, of course, also been lampooned many times, and this is, after all, the MICF but the fellas are taking the story very seriously. Their aim is to evoke a sense of menace and dread that the original captures – which is a bold move to make in a Comedy Festival show. However Innes Lloyd were very particular about the style of show they wanted to bring to the audience and the style of comedy they wanted to present to warrant their inclusion in a comedy festival.
“Late last year we presented a tribute to Orson Welle’s broadcast & Jeff Wayne’s Album of War of the Worlds,” explains Lloyd. “ In that show we learnt that we could do a show that takes the subject matter seriously but also find the humour without reverting to lampooning or cheap parodies. I mean there are some inherently ridiculous moments in the story of Dracula but we decided to embrace those moments as opposed to making fun of them because that would take you out of the reality we’re trying to create on stage. It is a balancing act…and I hope we get it right.”
The duo are also paying homage to Stoker’s strong female lead Mina over the somewhat flaccid female protagonist some films have offered over time.
“Quite early on during our structuring session for the show we came across quite a large issue. In most movie versions of Dracula the women characters REALLY get the rough end of the stick. They are prey…in every sense of the word. They are either Food or F**ks,” says Lloyd. “Pretty much all the films focus on the brave pure man saving the helpless woman from the lustful Count. Maybe that’s why I never really got into Dracula and focused more on Buffy. The Vampire Slayer…I like my female characters to have a bit for depth…and ability to kick arse. But then when we started researching for this show and started reading the original text Innes and I were surprised and delighted to see that in the novel the protagonist is actually Mina Harker. She has a love of science and is determined to avenge the death of her friend. The more we discussed it, the more Innes and I realised there was no way either of us should play this particular role. We knew it was crucial to have it played by someone who identified as a woman, to really to the role justice. I had worked with Jen on my show The Heart Awakens and we also do a podcast together, so when her name came up, there was no other option. Thank heavens she said yes…otherwise we’d be screwed. We restructured the whole show around Jen and it really sparked in a new creative direction. Jen has a great sense of humour that is different but compliments our style. Also she is a wonderful actor, dedicated and very playful.”
Innes and Lloyd have been working together over 5 years now and Lloyd acknowledges that there is a rhythm and pattern to their writing style. “The inclusion of Jen Speirs has really shaped things up (for the better) as well. During read-throughs Jen may go off on a little impromptu tangent that either I or Innes will immediately leap onto as well. This is just helping round out the show,” says Lloyd.
With their show, Innes Lloyd invite you to believe in things that you cannot – a show with bite that is sure to leave you howling.
Says Lloyd: “Come for the thrills, the chills and the laughs!”
March 25- 31
The Butterfly Club