Curse of the Demeter (4 stars)

Curse of the Demeter

Dracula inspired spooky goings-on

This spookily enjoyable tale from Visible Fictions starts with as many questions as it ends with. As we enter the auditorium, the stage is already set – a wooden ship lies bereft of crew, its lonely cargo conjuring up Marie Celeste-style mysteries.

Sixty minutes later, we’re none the wiser. Crew members have come and gone, all skilfully played by actors Jonathan Holt and Gavin Kean – but where to, and at whose hand, remains a mystery. Or does it? Listening to the departing audience speculate, it’s clear everyone has their own theory about how cursed the ship actually is.

The show is inspired by Bram Stocker’s gothic novel, Dracula, in which the Russian ship Demeter runs aground in North Yorkshire minus all but one of its crew. Tied to his wheel, the dead captain remains onboard, his log detailing the mysterious loss of all his men.

In an age where TV and film can conjure up such real-looking horror, it’s testament to the Visible Fictions team that they have made this stage show so suspenseful. Using the relatively simple tools of atmospheric lighting and a hand-held camera – not to mention the palpable fear of Holt and Kean – the company somehow manages to gently slide you towards the edge of your seat.

Aimed at ages 11 and over, this definitely isn’t suitable for young delicate types, for whom the Demeter’s curse might bring about one dead sailor too many.

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 23 & Sat 24 Oct. Seen at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Sat 3 Oct

Curse of the Demeter

A spooky tale of a doomed ship, inspired by Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' and brought to the stage by Visible Fictions. Suitable for everyone aged 11 and older who isn't afraid of the dark.

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