Written by Patrick Chavis
Dracula has been one of the most popular characters in the monster genre for decades. He’s mysterious and alluring, and he’s often portrayed as someone attractive to the eye. Unsurprisingly, there are popular movies and franchises based around handsome vampires (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries). These stories have Dracula’s rizz to thank (at least partially) for their success. WCP’s Niel LaBute penned a version of Dracula that adds some newer, more modern touches to the material and adds a much-appreciated sense of humor into the narrative. Still, the bite (not literally), the terror, and the suspense could be more convincing.
Dracula ( Steven Vogel) is a powerful, undead figure who walks around at night and sucks peoples blood. Dracula is immortal and, besides a few exceptions, impossible to kill. Dracula can also turn others into vampires if he wants to. In this play, Dracula wants to move from his native Transylvania to England. In the process, a bunch of pesky humans get in the way, and the horror and drama ensues.
This version of Dracula has some wonderful additions to the narrative that, in some ways, make this play feel new and even funny. The major difference is the female characters are given more agency. Dr. Van Helsing, the famous vampire hunter, is a woman in this version. LaBute seems to believe this is enough to make his Dracula different and distinctive enough, but it’s a mild change at best. This is highlighted even more with the uninspired ending. One of the most exciting elements about a character like Dracula is how he can creep up on people, vanish, and appear. While this is covered in this, the play uses a mask to symbolize invisibility. There’s an apparent lack of darkness in this production that often goes hand in hand with this type of character.
As this is a Victorian tale, there’s some Victorian fashion that’s used sparingly. It is mainly utilized with the outfits worn by Caitlin Zinn, who plays Mina Murray. Her hairstyle to the dresses she wears in this production were all very good choices. One of the outfits is a black-blue dress with flower petals. The outfit worn by Ashley Stewart (Vixen) is also quite good: a simple black dress with a flowing bottom and a black and gold wreath. Stewart’s outfit and acting made Vixen a fun character to watch, even for the short runtime she has in this show. There’s a strong Steampunk aesthetic in this show. It had nothing to do with the story, but it’s there because Steampunk is cool.
Steampunk is cool!
Set Design :
The set design, in a word, is practical. The front of the stage is left open for the actors to walk around and sit or stand on boxes shaped like a cross. In the background, the wall has a hole shaped like a coffin. There’s a very bold use of colored lighting coming from each part of the stage: dark reds and greens. Left of the stage was a small jail cell for the character Renfield (Jose Orozco).
This show had a consistent cast of good actors.
Steven Vogel gives a great performance as Count Dracula. His confidence was on full display throughout the performance but shined during the moments when he let loose.
Catlin Zinn, as the character Mina Murray, had wonderful delivery and stage presence. Bryan Edelmann gave a strong and consistent performance as Dr. Arthur Seward.
It lacks some of the suspense and excitement of its predecessor, but horror fans might still get a kick out of this new Dracula adaptation.