Oh, Edred – the vampyre that had sex with Shakespeare but did not bite him; the vampyre that likes garlic and that loves the sunshine. What else is there to say?
Edred, the Vampyre played last week as part of the London Horror Festival and I got the pleasure of watching it last Wednesday. It is written by David Pinner, the author of none other than Ritual – the novel that inspired The Wicker Man – as part of The Vampire Trilogy (2011).
Directed by Anthony Shrubsall and designed by Alys Whitehead, Edred stars Martin Prest as Edred, and Zari Lewis and James Hoyles as the two vampire-hunters Elizabeth and Jacques.
The play takes place in a church during one rainy night. Edred is visited by Elizabeth and Jacques, two teenagers struggling with their own nightmares who, when seeking the truth about vampires, end up stumbling upon the truth about themselves.
It has its ups and downs – at times I wished it toned down on the comedy in order to make the dramatic and horror parts more believable, or even less discrepant. The comic parts, though, are brilliant. Edred takes pride in breaking down every stereotype there is about vampires, even agreeing with Edward Cullen from Twilight on the fact that they both shine.
When explaining himself and his nature to Elizabeth and Jacques, Edred goes through history highlighting the important moments in his life, but also situating his existence with real life events. He mentions the fact that he was once identified as the Highgate Vampire, he’s lived through Jack The Ripper and many other horrific events.
Edred has charisma; he is not modest at all when sharing his story and savours every detail of his storytelling, creating anticipation as if waiting to plunge his fangs into a neck. Martin Prest incorporated Edred perfectly – it looks like he is enjoying playing him as much as Edred is enjoying the company of Elizabeth and Jacques. Zari Lewis and James Hoyles contrast each other perfectly.
Elizabeth and Jacques are young and have their whole lives ahead of them. Elizabeth is going to a Russell Group university, whilst Jacques is settling for a simpler one. However, their lives are not as blissful as they might seem at first glance. They hold secrets which will either set them free, or kill them.
Edred, the Vampyre is a compelling story that succeeded in making the audience laugh and hold their breath – I just wish it had perhaps made me laugh a bit less and made me gasp a bit more. Other than that, the narrative came full circle tying its knots, but leaving it just loose enough so our imagination can create our own epilogue.
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