IT’S a bloody truth, but this is the best damn comedy on stage and the ‘Royal’ is staging the best night out you’ll have in a long time, writes Paul Thomas.

Dracula: The Bloody Truth plays Windsor until Saturday, and all I can say is get there for a rib-tickling two hours of the best comedy you’ll see this year.

For fans of our most famous vampire or just those who enjoy a giggle this will make you laugh your head off.

From the first minute to the last there is a mixture of Monty Python, Laurel and Hardy, Pantomime and slapstick.

You know what’s coming yet you still laugh your socks off.

This really is the best show around and the guys who put it on are just the funniest thing I’ve seen for years. Le Navet Bete, in association with Exeter Northcott Theatre, presents the tale from beyond the grave and from Dracula’s foremost adversary, Professor Van Helsing.

As he says: “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. I saw the vampire. 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 that you book your tickets right this instant! It’s a matter of life and death.”

This is about a play within a play from Van Helsing. Believe me, you couldn’t make it up, but they have and it’s bloody brilliant. From the dark and sinister Transylvanian mountains to the awkwardly charming seaside town of Whitby while the frantic Van Helsing and his three amateur actors try to stage a life-changing, factual theatrical production of the events of Dracula. Directed by one of the UK’s most exciting comedy directors, John Nicholson (Peepolykus) and designed by Phil Eddolls (Mark Bruce Company, Improbable Theatre), Dracula: The Bloody Truth promises to have the vampires back in the ground and leave audiences flying high.

Nick Bunt as Van Helsing is a hoot, well they all are. Dan Bianchi as Dracula is a sinister and malevolent funny man, Al Dunn as the ill-fated estate agent (don’t we all just love that) is cracking as the put-upon victim and Matt Freeman as Mina (Drac’s bride), well forget there a better dame around?

Go to the guy who looks after the effects on stage, Alex Best, with lights and sound and you have a marriage made in hell. The story is very close to the original novel by Bram Stoker and the 90s flick with Gary Oldman in structure but the jokes just make you fall apart.

Lights, trickery, dialogue and diction are all there in the most fantastic way.

This is a fangtastic night out. You’ll die laughing. There was a standing ovation at the end and quite right too. Hope we see Drac come back from the grave and give us a another bite at the play.

Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Theatre Royal Windsor, until Saturday, March 3. Box office 01753 853888.