You wait a long time for a really terrific dance show to come to Oxford, and then two come together. First Le Corsaire, also reviewed here, and then Dracula.

Mark Bruce, its creator, has always shown his love for the extremely dramatic, and possesses the ability to bring his often extreme visions brilliantly to life.

His Dracula, performed in Phil Eddols’ fog-suffused, twisted-metal, Gothic set, is true to Bram Stoker’s story. It’s frightening, moving, and occasionally very funny — as when Alan Vincent bursts into song to make his marri-age proposal. Harker’s carr-iage-ride to the castle, with huge wolves loping alongside, is just one of many dramatic effects, in which nine dancers also become horses, sailors, maids and wildly-dancing East-European peasants. The quality ensemble take Bruce’s demanding choreography in their stride. It’s never just dance for its own sake, but always to further the plot or convey the emotions of the characters. In the duets it is also very beautiful. Eleanor Duval and Lucy Westenra give powerful performances as the two female leads, but it’s Jonathan Goddard who holds the whole thing together in an icy grip as Dracula. His expressive, athletic dancing is marvellous, and from his long opening solo, we also feel the Count’s pain at the life he is forced by fate to lead.