Innes Lloyd (David S. Innes and Rob Lloyd) return with the sequel to their 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival smash-hit adaptation DRACULA, with Jennifer Speirs as kick-ass vampire-destroying heroine, Dr Mina Harker.]

Read on to spend 5 minutes with writer/performer/Innes-half of Innes Lloyd…David S. Innes.

How would you describe your show to someone who knew nothing about it? 

The story centres around Dr. Mina Harker, specialist in monsterism. She is on a quest, with the aid of one of Scotland Yard’s finest: Sir Nayland Smith, to track down a mysterious murderous cult bent on finding the secret to immortality. It is a comedy action homage to the bygone age of film, interspersed with fun facts about Universal Pictures’ monster movies from the turn of the 20th Century.

What/Who was its inspiration?

It started with Innes Lloyd adapting Dracula for 2019’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Working with Rob Lloyd is always a dream because he is a superbly funny and talented actor and has a wonderful visual eye for how shows should look. As I am far more suited to writing and narrative construction, it makes our working relationship incredibly strong. The catalyst that spawned the creation of this show, Mina Harker: Monster Doctor, was Jen Speirs. Both Rob and I loved working with her on Dracula (where she played Mina Harker, one of the main characters from the novel) and we both wanted to do another show together. Rob was very passionate about the idea of doing a show which featured ‘every monster ever’ battling Mina Harker as the premise for this show. So it was my duty to take this seemingly impossible task and turn it into a workable story. Ten drafts later, we have a show. I couldn’t get the Creature from the Black Lagoon in there, sadly, but one day…

What do you think its best quality is? 

Jen Speirs. Her immense talent as an actor and being such fun to work with makes this show what it is. Both Rob and I’s performance automatically improve as a result (she helps reign our oft-noted self indulgence!). As a result, there is a rollicking enthusiasm to the show  that both Rob and I hope make people laugh and feel engaged.

Why should people see it? 

To see a kick-ass female monster doctor fight monsters and escape perilous situations. To appreciate the peppering of deep cut references for early twentieth century cinema scattered throughout the show.

If there is one thing you would like to say to your fans, what is it? 

Thank you so much for the ongoing love and support of Innes Lloyd’s indulgent, nerd appreciation shows. Be it our one-off tribute shows or our narrative MICF programs. Without the loving audience, there would be no impetus to create theatre like this. Your ongoing support for independent theatre keeps up all going. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your career? 

I have been influenced by many, but I would like to name three. Rob Lloyd has most directly positively influenced my career as a writer and performer. Rob is a phenomenal improviser and like a great improviser, his attitude in our working relationship is full of ‘yes and’s and moving the story forward. He is always so encouraging, so innovative and willing to challenge my ideas to make them stronger and more engaging for the audience. My writing always improves with Rob’s involvement. My former Media teacher and friend-to-this-day George Viscas has been a great influence as a writing mentor to me. His advice on the mechanics of storytelling continues to influence how I engineer stories. My last great influence is Russell T Davies. Writer of Years and YearsIt’s a Sin and Doctor Who, he is the writer I strive to be – someone who can effortlessly make people sound like people in his scripts and not exposition machines. Someone who can make an audience’s emotions rise and fall so dramatically in such a short period of time across a narrative. Someone who knows that drama and comedy are two sides of the same coin. Can I confess I wrote a fan letter to him once?

Who makes you want to create

My friends. When I go to brunch and tell my friends about this ridiculous idea I have and they are visibly excited by it, that makes me want to create it. Heck, I tend to write stuff just so I can make my friends laugh. Also, the audience. When we do shows and we have a laughing, joyous crowd, I cannot possibly go without that rush again!

When did it become clear to you that comedy and entertainment were your passions? 

Isn’t it always getting that first laugh? You become hooked. First big laughs happened in Grade 5 and then I’ve actively pursued that ever since. Even now, as a VCE Chemistry teacher, I try to make my explanations of balancing redox half equations as entertaining as can. As much as can make balancing redox half equations entertaining.

What does comedy, creation and entertainment mean to you? 

It means: escapism – being able to drift off and revel in another world; joy – being delighted in a shared experience; Problem solving – coming up with a “what if” to a character or story and solving it like a mathematical equation; The engineering of storytelling – constructing narratives like a machine and designing better lines of dialogue to make it a more effective comedy device.

What are 3 words that describe you? 

Nerdy. Delightful. Perfectionist.

What are 3 things that  would surprise people to learn about you?

A dentist saved my life earlier this year by detecting I was missing blood platelets, my biggest irrational fear is waking up one day trapped in a cult, and whilst I love Brooklyn 99 I am not a fan of Parks and Recreation.

How excited are you to be performing in front of a live audience again after last year’s covid shut down?

At least seven. Seven whole exciteds.

What is next for you?

I am taking a few weeks long-service leave from my teaching job to spend writing my next big ideas. It is the 60th anniversary of the first ever James Bond film next year, so I’m keen to write a story as tribute, but at the same time do something nobody else has done with the franchise.

                       Mina Harker: Monster Doctor

It’s 1901 and monsters are everywhere. There are Wolfmen in Wales, Invisible Men in Iping and Mummies in… um… another town. Someone is using these monsters to find the secret to eternal life. The only person who can stop them? MINA HARKER: MONSTER DOCTOR.

Expect thrills, chills and fun facts!

April 5 – 11

Images: Mark Gambino