Observations: Barbican's vampire show is theatre to get your teeth into

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The Independent Culture

If imitation is a form of flattery, Twilight star Robert Pattinson ought to be pleased by the posters for new teen vampire flick, Cirque du Freak, whose young lead is a dead (or should that be undead?) ringer. The continuing mania surrounding Twilight on the big screen and the HBO series True Blood on the small meant it was only a matter of time before vampires invaded other cultural spheres.

Premiering at the Barbican tonight, They Only Come at Night: Visions is the latest immersive theatre experience from Manchester company Slung Low, commissioned appropriately as part of the venue's annual "bite" season. Three by three, audience members will be led to a subterranean space near the Barbican and plunged into a world where fantasy and reality meet in a mix of theatre, music, dance and digital projection. The narrative trail continues online.

Says artistic director Alan Lane: "Fear is one of those genuinely physical reactions and the challenge for us is to keep the story running. Vampires are one of the myths we've created to understand acts of random violence. Our aim is to push performance beyond some of its boundaries."

Like Twilight, Visions is part of a trilogy, predated by a second instalment, Resurrection, which ran at Salford's Lowry this summer. "The trick we learnt with the previous show is that once you see the vampire, the game's over", says Lane. "It's different from film. You have to hold back."

Still, Lane can't get enough of True Blood. "It's utter muck! And they're not talking about sex or race, but everyone knows they really are. Myth frees you up like that. It's like wearing sunglasses and looking at the sun. You get a few more moments to stare."

To 15 Nov, Barbican, London EC2 (020 7638 8891; www.barbican.org.uk)