The Monster Hunters by Newgate Productions was indeed a pleasant surprise. In description, it seemed to share a similar format to The Scarifyers, whose first series at least was extremely enjoyable supernatural/mystery/historical fluff from great vocal artists like the late Nicholas Courtney, Gabriel Woolf and Terry Molloy. The Monster Hunters, perhaps, takes itself a bit less seriously and therefore restricts itself to smaller scope, with unpredictably hilarious results. I was listening to this on the train on the way home and could not help smiling at perplexed strangers as the play wound its way to an outrageous climax.
The prologue, where the evil vampire Count Orloff is defeated in London by Ignatius Chesterfield in 1771, reminded me very much of Doctor Von Goosewing trying to stake Count Duckula in the eponymous Cosgrove Hall kids’ cartoon. Much as that cartoon succeeds from an onslaught of gaffes, quips, and harmless buffoonery, so to The Monster Hunters: The Discotheque of Nights creates involuntary giggles a-plenty, courtesy of its disinterested mastermind (Sir Maxwell House), its protagonists Roy Steel (Matthew Woodcock), world’s second best game hunter, and Prof. Lorrimer Chesterfield (Peter Davis), fulfilling the Professor Dunning/Terry Molloy role (albeit a bit stupider!).
I should mention, of course, that one of the reasons The Monster Hunters succeeds so well is because it is set in 1971 and revels in the camp that Life on Mars eschewed. A brilliant soundtrack and Steel’s completely un-PC attitude work extremely well (it’s hardly surprising that the writers also play the leads). Like the escapist fantasy of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, it glories in a depiction of a silly, semi-fictional past that just happens to include vampires. I may not know any of the 1970s films it’s based on, but that doesn’t hinder my enjoyment.
The Monster Hunters—at least in the league of The Scarifyers and perhaps outdoing it.