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Review: “Dracula” at the Repertory Theatre

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indiana Repertory Theatre. AroundIndy.com staff photo.

By Elizabeth J. Musgrave
Syndicated Columnist

IRT opens its 2011-12 season with a bite…a huge bite. The highly anticipated “Dracula opened to a full house of vampire enthusiasts, IRT devotees, and fans of the playwright. The play is penned by Stephen Dietz who raced into our consciousness last season with his delightful “Becky’s New Car” which brought its own rave reviews.

Not a light-hearted version of Bram Stoker’s novel; this performance includes the necessary, raw sexual undertones woven throughout, while bringing forth the strong Gothic vibes. To keep the darkest core of Dracula, portrayed intensely by Wade McCollom, a shade lighter, enter the supporting role of Reinfeld, played by Dieterich Gray.’

Reinfeld’s role of insane asylum inmate brings forth the darkest of fears and mood-lightening barbs in ping-pong fashion, keeping the audience from slipping too far into the depths of Stoker’s world of vampires.

Tom McElroy portrays Van Helsing bringing scientific theories to the circle, keeping logic at forefront, while acknowledging the need to address superstitions.

Dietz stays true to Victorian beliefs, medical abilities and societal allowances of the time period while introducing the blackest underbelly in stark contrast to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude of the day.

With the minimalist stage, scenic designer Robert Mark Morgan allows no one to escape the dark realities or the scientific mood. Director Peter Amster permits sensual desires to permeate the theater, saturating theatergoers with the pulsating need of the Count of Transylvania: blood.

Bottom Line: IRT’s “Dracula” sets the standard for all other theaters to reach this season.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Read more on her very popular blog at http://gottagoelizabeth.blogspot.com/.

Categories: reviews, theatres
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