Vampire Hospital Waiting Room
Above the Arts Theatre, Leicester Square, London
Beach Comet Theatricals
Sausage and Bacon. Loch Ness Monster. Ant and Dec. Just a few word combinations I love, and now to add Vampire Hospital Waiting Room to the list, even if it proves a bit of a tongue twister. A colourful fun show bringing all the charm of B-movie horror elements to musical life on stage, telling the story of a wealthy millionaire and his secretary ending up in hospital after a horrific car crash one night. But the hospitals strange and only doctor, longing to become a vampire, is convinced that his latest patient is the Vampire Lord come to turn him and does everything he can to force the prophecy. By the end of the show I hurt so much from laughter I probably should have checked in myself.
The entire night had a fresh energetic feel from the cast, making the performance feel like an innovative improvisation, and let the audience soak in the vibe from the performers. From fluently delivered numbers to witty direct audience address; even though this is a continued run it felt fresh and personal, and like the best shows, a unique experience that could only be experienced in the space every night. Throughout the show were a range of upbeat, entertaining and hilarious musical numbers with awkwardly fitting lyrics that were performed brilliantly as an entire cast, sometimes with background characters casually singing along. I found myself singing many of them on the way home , all bringing comedy but with great points to make (such as my favourite “Love is like a Car Crash”). Energy was also added to with the company’s creativity with the minimal space and budget that fringe shows live with, managing to squeeze in even more laughs out, through simple sight gags (“where are you?!?” “Here”) to nice little flourishes with quick, casual entrances and exits. It also works brilliantly thanks to the simple yet fun story, taking tropes of 50’s horror cinema, modern comedy and a few political asides to make it hilarious and engaging.
Whilst the performance flowed through thanks to a brilliant ensemble each actor gifted their character with distinct traits that gave the lines life: “Sexy Nurse” Jennifer gave a cartoonish turn that was reminiscent of Carry On films, random stranger Martin delivered off kilter one liners with an OTT Scottish accent, the wounded Priest acted as an optimistic yet naughty mediator, Mrs Baldwin captured Disney villainy in her plotting wife, Secretary Liz Parks excelled as the loving yet oblivious companion, youthful millionaire Arty Baldwin offered naive eccentric observations and Dr Bloom provided an obsessive, socially inappropriate protagonist, all of whom kept on the ball with perfectly weighted comic timing.
Vampire Hospital Waiting Room provides a charming and hilarious night full of what makes the best B-movies entertaining with a dash of hearty comedy, just what the vampire doctor ordered. If you love horror (particularly Hammer), comedy and musicals this is a must, but if you just love laugh-till-it-hurt theatre then this is also a necessity.
© Daniel Ramsden – 2015 – @DanielRamsdenFL