The Perfect Companion, directed by Charmaine K. Parkin, is a modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula where the villain is not always who you would believe. Performed by the SISATA Company as part of the London Horror Festival 2019 at the Pleasance Theatre, the play's modern twist is brilliantly thrilling.
The Perfect Companion takes place in a small apartment in London, where Richard has invited Joanna, a middle-aged journalist he met on a dating app. From the very beginning, both characters stand out from the classical representation of protagonists. Richard very quickly makes us feel uncomfortable and Joanna is unrelatable and unlikable, with too much self-confidence and self-esteem. As Richard’s true intentions and Joanna’s past start to show, the pressure in the room slowly increases viscerally, trapping the audience in this small apartment with them.
By this building in the tension and a unique portrait of Richard, the audience was tricked into thinking they knew exactly what was going to happen, but the final plot twists were more than unexpected. The audience slowly become an accomplice to what is happening on stage, both unable and unwilling to help Joanna. Pretending to die on stage might be one of the most challenging parts of acting for any actor and SISATA's portrayal was less than impressive. The portrayals felt rushed, unrealistic and almost forced in order to give the play closure after the long date.
This show does not leave the audience bored, because of the overwhelming feeling of anxiety creeping throughout the play. The modern retelling addresses modern problems, some as light as online dating, some as important as mental health. It leaves the audience wondering about the consequences of their own actions on others’ lives and with a little reminder than nothing is ever what it seems, there are always multiple sides to every story. Who’s really the villain here? The murderer, the psychotic stalker or the vengeful ghost from the past?
As a whole, The Perfect Companion is definitely a show worth seeing. This gothic tale has every ingredient to please a horror going audience.
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Head Digital Editor