March 1977. Harwich to Esbjerg on the overnight ferry. How do we entertain ourselves on this long journey? First stop: the bar. It’s going to be a long crossing so John and I decide to join in that evening’s dance competition. Can we dance? Of course not and when we see the ladies and gents in their finest outfits elegantly turning up and showing their skills we get nervous.
John is up for a Tango and me for some Rock ‘n Roll… Several 3-fingers of whisky later we disgrace ourselves by dragging our poor professional dance partners around the floor, taking a bow and then running for cover. Long ferry journeys often end up like this and we have many long ferry journeys.
This is the beginning of our long 3-month Drac/Dream tour which starts in Scandinavia, then snakes through Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and France and then ends in Nice. We will inhabit both shows for 3 months and then bid them farewell. They are our reason for being here. We unload the van for whichever show we’re doing that night, do the show, strike and off we go to the next venue.
Sheila, Pip and Roderic heading north on the seas to Scandinavia.
3 months of zigzagging through Europe. One time driving from Stockholm to Nice for one show and then touring north again through France and Germany. Sometimes doing Dracula, sometimes Dream, sometimes alternating between the two.
Chris, Dick and John having a much needed van stretch.
I (Lucy Vampire) have a cold, a bad one, and have been taking a cough mixture with stuff in it (probably morphine) and it makes me high and dopey. It is the first night in Hamburg. All goes well until I get out of my coffin to attack Emil (Dr Seward) who has to catch me and hurl me away after a well-rehearsed somersault. He is then supposed to grab me by the hair, using a well-rehearsed stage trick but I don’t hit my mark and fall on my knees. Emil doesn’t wait for me to grab his wrist (the stage trick) so drags me along the stage by my hair, I am furious.
Meanwhile Olly (Jonathan Harker) throws a well-rehearsed crucifix at Rod (Dracula) who whilst tearing around the stage in a flapping bat cape gets kicked in the balls. Rod throws a well-rehearsed top hat at Olly which skims his left eye. Emil by now has thrown me over his shoulder and carries me through the audience to a balcony where the band is, and I howl with pain and fury.
Do the audience think we do this every night? It goes down exceptionally well but as we never do curtain calls we, the walking wounded, simply leave the stage. The upshot of this is Rod has a damaged testicle, Olly has scratched his left cornea and me and Emil are not talking. Rod on doctors orders is told to rest for 2 nights else he won’t be able to have babies. This is the only time in over 10 years we cancelled a show.
This is the one and only time we cancelled!
Emil in Hamburg.
I am sitting in the same cafe ordering the same dinner and writing to you from the same place as 1 year and 3 months ago. It’s a time warp, it’s like we never did the I.C.A. The audience is so different here in Denmark. We are in this strange High School miles from anywhere doing Dream. The audience are all the kids from this school, they wander in and out all through the show, giggle at you and offer you sweeties and tobacco. They clap as soon as you suggest it and join in and then piss off in the middle of the show if they feel like it. Someone jumped on stage and tried to join in… Totally harmless but unnerving. When we arrived here yesterday they were catcalling Rod: Kojak… Hey you Kojak!! We should have known…
Pip and Dave – Herning High School, Denmark.
Dave the cockerel is looked after by Olly who also looks after the doves. Dave only gets to perform in the Dream whereas the doves perform in both shows. We take it in turns to have the doves in our hotel room and Dave stays with Olly. No animals are harmed in these shows. They are fed and watered and we love them.
Olly backstage with the doves.
All photos © Sheila Burnett