PHYSICAL theatre company Le Navet Bete will travel all the way from Exeter to York in their desire to reveal The Bloody Truth about Dracula at the Grand Opera House on September 29.

The Devon storytellers with a love of outrageous tomfoolery and darkly comedic devilry will make their York debut when on tour with "the only play ever written that reveals the true story of the famous Count".

This bloodcurdling tale of terror journeys across Europe from the sinister Transylvanian mountains to the awkwardly charming seaside town of Whitby and into the world of the supernatural, as Le Navet Bete mount their mission to educate one and all on the perils of dealing with vampires.

"Bram Stoker’s classic has been adapted thousands of times for print, stage and screen, so you probably think you know the story well," they say. "Well, think again. This time the tale will be told in the only way we know how: seriously ridiculously."

Over to the Narrator for an urgent message: "Stop! It is of vital importance that you stop what you’re doing and read this very carefully. Your life may depend on it.

"You must have all heard by now of the recent novel, Dracula, that was released three years ago in 1897 by that dreadful man Bram Stoker, yes? I gave that money grabber, Mr Stoker, all of my research notes, letters, diary entries to write up to warn you: it wasn’t a fictional story at all, no! It was fact, true, real, I was there! I saw the madness, the supernatural. I saw the vampire."

He goes on: "Please do excuse me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Professor Abraham Van Helsing, MD, D.Ph., D.Lit., etc, etc, of Amsterdam. I have put together a theatrical performance, along with three other actors I have hired, to warn you all of the dangers of vampires and how to deal with one if the situation arises. Now what are you waiting for? It is imperative you see this show. It is a matter of life and death."

Le Navet Bete are five friends, co-directors and co-conspirators, namely production manager Alex Best and actors Al Dunn, Nick Bunt, Daniel Bianchi and Matt Freeman. "This relationship has become our second biggest strength – our first being our audiences – and that has huge benefits, allowing us to be in the best space to create inimitable, ridiculous comedy, share the same underwear and spend most of our waking time on tour in the back of a van with each other," they say.

As for the Devonians' French company name: "Everyone was going for high-art names at the time we formed, and that's why we wanted something that sounded high art...but is also stupid," says Alex Best. Hence Le Navet Bete. "Navet means 'turnip', but colloquially it also means 'stupid' – like how we use 'raspberry' with more than one meaning in this country – so La Navet Bete means 'The Turnip Beast' or 'The Stupid Beast'."

Bete, by the way, also translates as "stupid", "brute", "dense", "dumb", "silly" or "thick", so La Navet Bete also could mean The Stupid Turnip, maybe the best name of the three.

If you fancy a 7.30pm encounter with Dracula, tickets are on sale at or on 0844 871 3024. To catch a flavour of Le Navet Bete's humour, have a look at their trailer at

Charles Hutchinson