Niederhauser, Meyer, Brodess, and Highfill were engaging and sympathetic as their characters fought desperately against the undying Dracula. Kourtney Kae and Samuel D. Boeck, who played the servant roles of Margaret Sullivan and Norbert Briggs respectively, were excellent as minor characters. They provided an interesting love subplot, as well as their own doses of humor and horror.
One of the best performances of the play belonged to Kevin Percival, who played Robert Renfield, the inmate who becomes Dracula’s unwilling spy. Reinfield has a far less important role in the novel than he did in the play, but the changes to his character were very effective. Percival gave a compelling performance as the inmate whose insane antics, humorous dialogue, and treachery advanced the plot.
The stage tricks and special effects were amazing. Trapdoors, smoke, and coffin lids made characters disappear—or switch with each other—in the blink of an eye. Gunshots and fire on the characters themselves were convincing. The costumes for all were well done, and Dracula’s monster form was downright terrifying.
Dracula met my expectations for the “scare factor.” I don’t consider myself easily startled, but I jumped out of my seat at least twice. The play also provided the expected sexual tensions and overtones of horror-adventure, because the vampire’s bite is embroiled in feverish lust and desire.
This is not a play for children. I was concerned for a little boy I saw standing by the theater door during one scene of seduction and terror, because he was certainly not ready for such content.
However, as an adult tale of horror, adventure, and eternal stakes, Dracula was worth the two hours and 14 dollars that I spent to see it. The acting was superb. The costumes, lighting, sound effects, and stage effects alternately pleased and terrified my senses. Dracula was coherent and compelling. This adaptation from the novel to the stage was a definite success.
Dracula runs through Oct. 2.