Review: Little Theatre’s ‘Dracula’ is full of scary delights

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Lynley Peoples as Lucy Westenra and Chris Andersen as Dracula (Photo/Doug Olmstead)
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By Jordan Wright

“We are all of us invented – cobbled together from cartilage and dust.” Thus, speaks Renfield, who finds himself chained to the wall in Dr. John Seward’s lunatic asylum. Seward struggles to explain the young man’s sudden madness and thirst for blood. “I will solve the mystery of your mind,” he claims forebodingly.

‘Tis the season of the witch and the spellbinding legend of Count Dracula of Transylvania and the time for telling ghostly tales and spreading terror in the hearts of our dear citizenry. To that end, Director Jennifer Lyman gives us a horror story with a soupçon of laughter – all the better to cheer you up and frighten you half to death.

Heather Benjamin as Mina Murray and Brendan Quinn as Jonathan Harker (Photo/Doug Olmstead)

Two young women – Mina Murray, betrothed to Jonathan Harker, and her childhood friend, Lucy Westenra – live together in Lucy’s London home. Lucy has three suitors, in particular Seward, who is eager to wed her. But it is the unknown man who visits after all are tucked in their beds that has the most sway over Lucy’s sleepless nights and terrifying dreams.

Soon Harker, who has been brokering a deal with the Count to purchase an estate in London, and Seward join forces to solve the mystery. Professor Abraham Van Helsing, a man with serious street cred for driving out vampires, comes to their aid and the three sail to Transylvania and the castle of the Count hoping to drive a stake through his heart before

Brendan Quinn as Jonathan Harker, Lynley Peoples as Lucy Westenra, Griffin Voltmann as Dr. John Seward, and Kirk Lambert as Abraham Van Helsing (Photo/Doug Olmstead)

the Count, a.k.a. “Nosferatu,” arrives in London to terrorize the city.

As a vampire of note, this Dracula is no ordinary neck-obsessed villain. In his quest for victims, he is fearsome yet funny with a thick Romanian accent that delivers plenty of hilarious double entendres.

This creepy pot-boiler is jam-packed with thrills and chills and plenty of vampire paraphernalia – stakes, crypts, mirrors, strings of garlic, harpies, bats, crosses, clanking chains and more to brighten your day. Most impressive are the production values – the aforementioned props, atmospheric lighting and billowing fog (Gratefully hypoallergenic), eerie music, ghoulish makeup and sinister sound effects. Even the clever set design of a two-story castle with multiple entrances and exits commands high marks.

The play stars Jeff Elmore as Renfield, Heather Benjamin as Mina Murray, Lynley
Peoples as Lucy Westenra, Brendan Quinn as Jonathan Harker, Griffin Voltmann as Dr. John Seward, Chris Anderson as Dracula and Kirk Lambert as Abraham Van Helsing.
Supporting crew for “Dracula” includes Director Jennifer Lyman, Assistant Director and Fight Choreographer Michael Page, Set Designer Matt Liptak and Properties Designer Michelle Hall. The production’s lighting design is by JK Lighting Design, sound design is by Janice Rivera, special effects by Art Snow and period wardrobe design is coordinated by Shannon Robichaud.

Kudos to Gothic novelist Bram Stoker’s Victorian vampire and LTA’s cast and crew. LTA has given us a monster of a ghoulish show this Halloween.

Jordan Wright writes about food, spirits, travel, theatre and culture. Visit her website at www.whiskandquill.com or email her at [email protected].

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