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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Carlisle dental technician comes to Dracula's aid

It is enough to make your blood run cold...

Dracula teeth photo
Andrew Pattinson with a cast

Staff at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake have taken on the tricky task of breathing new life into the legend of Count Dracula, arguably the world’s best known vampire.

But as fans of Bram Stoker’s creation will know, every vampire needs a convincing set of fangs.

Enter Carlisle-based clinical dental technician Andy Pattinson – one of the few Cumbrians capable of making terrifying teeth fit for the mouth of any vampire.

He took on the unusual task after getting a call from the Theatre’s wardrobe assistant Sam Newland.

“She sent an email asking if we could make two sets of vampire teeth for actors in their forthcoming Dracula play,” explained Andy, 38, who runs the Cumbria Denture Clinic with his partner Lesa Boland, 41, in Denton Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle.

“The actors are very busy with rehearsals so we agreed to go over to Keswick to make dental impressions of their mouths so we could make the fang dentures – though they’re not really dentures because they won’t eat with them!

“Previously, they’d tried using some fangs that they’d bought from a joke shop but they kept falling out. The ones I’ve made are reinforced and articulated, so they can bite.

“They look pretty good.”

A dental technician since leaving school, Andy trained for seven years, graduating from The Royal College of Surgeons to allow him to do direct clinical work with patients.

He said that this was not the first time he has been asked to create realistic fangs. “Years ago, I was asked to do it by somebody doing a play in Germany; and I was asked to make fangs for a guy called Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher, a martial arts expert who was in the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Theatre by the Lake said the actors for whom the fangs were made – Matthew Vaughan (Count Dracula) and Jennifer English (playing Lucy, who has a close encounter with the famous vampire) – were delighted with their new teeth.

“The fangs are very convincing and the actors look extremely scary when wearing them,” she said.

The Theatre’s production of Dracula – written by Liz Lochhead, currently the National Poet for Scotland – gives a modern twist to this very old horror story.

It focuses on an ambitious young solicitor given the task of helping a Transylvanian Count who wants to buy a property in England.

Drawing on Bram Stoker’s original novel, a disturbing and gory tale unfolds.

The play runs from Saturday June 7 to Friday, November 7. For more information log on to the Theatre’s website at www.theatrebythelake.com

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