Review by Taylor Kendal
When one thinks of Horror, the usual suspects come to mind instantly. The Wolfman, The Mummy, Frankenstein and his Monster, and of course Dracula. But there is a name that while it might be familiar, their story is never usually the one at the forefront, at least until now. Mina Harker is notorious for being the one to finally defeat the Count himself, but what of her tale after the book ends? Fear not, dear readers, because there is a team who are here to answer those very questions in Mina Harker: Monster Doctor.
Admittedly, I was not previously aware of the comedic duo of Rob Lloyd and David S. Innes until this performance, but as a lifelong fan of Horror and a title like that, I simply could not resist. And it is safe to say that I am now completely a fan. What can I say? When you walk into a theatre and Monster Mash is playing, you know you’re going to have a good time.
Written by Innes and Directed by Lloyd, Mina Harker: Monster Hunter, much like the fabled creatures of these tales, has been waiting in the shadows to be performed since the pandemic struck the entire world and put a pause on the theatre industry. A sequel to their 2019 Comedy Festival smash Dracula, the show is a loving tribute to the genre and the characters that grace the pages and the silver screen, which can be seen as a stand alone show, especially for those who are well versed in the genre.
Joining Innes and Lloyd on stage is Jen Speirs in the title role of our heroine, an intelligent, charismatic and total badass in a time where women weren’t seen as much in society. Speirs puts a wonderful, charismatic and comedic spin on a character that is often sidelined and treated as a plot device rather than a heroine in her own right. Set five years after she defeated and vanquished Dracula, Mina is now a wife and mother, and balancing a career as ‘no ordinary doctor’.
The three actors play a combined number of ten characters within the show, treading the boards as some of horrors most beloved characters, from the dual Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, to Victor Frankenstein, his monster, Prometheus and even Jack Griffin, the Invisible Man. Each character is played spectacularly with an endearing nod to the originals, while adding their own spin to the character, with a huge payoff with such a divine campy quality and an impeccable comedic wit, use of voice and body and a clear love and passion for what they are creating. Special mention to Rob Lloyd who plays a total of seven characters himself.
The staging is simple, with the only props being a flipbook guide through the story used effortlessly that it not only doesn’t detract from the story, but provides an engaging quality between audience and cast. Fight scenes and stunts are left completely to the imagination thanks to wonderfully timed choreography and sound design.
Each element of the show is so wonderfully thought out and works together with such seamlessness and a chemistry within the cast that can be a rare find these days. From the opening credits style introduction to our heroine – complete with a theme song – to the references to well known horror characters and the hilarious style of wit and humour woven throughout the story, I had absolutely fallen in love from the start. And of course, what is any Universal Horror tribute without a rendition of Puttin’ on the Ritz.
In a trademark move from Innes and Lloyd, the show is broken up with little segments of facts, each about a various trope in classic universal horror movies, such as the incarnations of Mina Harker, the Rogues Gallery of fiends and the Mash up of monsters that still can’t quite be made right on the big screen just yet.
There is so much to be said about this show that I could frankly go on for pages and pages about what is just so right about this show. But I hardly think that words could do it justice and really, it’s best to leave that to the professionals.