Review: DRACULA - Ghoulishly Fun

By: Nov. 23, 2015

DRACULA by Steven Dietz, adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker, produced by Different Stages and playing at The Vortex is pure ghoulish fun.
Vampires in general and DRACULA in particular have become cultural icons since Bram Stoker first penned his novel in 1897. Our fascination with the title monster has inspired countless books, movies and television shows, from INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE to DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT. Bathed in blood, the anti hero Count Dracula has captured our imagination and dark desires in his undead grasp. Immortality seems to have been bestowed on vampires in popular culture as there are continual incarnations around every corner. When Stoker's novel was introduced to the public, a less jaded Victorian populace was terrified by the blood sucking central character who stalked beautiful young women, luring them to their deaths. A modern audience is hardly frightened by such a well known tale, instead, we enjoy the diabolical glee of the story. In Dietz's version, partially told in spoken correspondence, we learn that Mina (Taylor Flanagan) is engaged to Jonathan Harker (Will Douglas) and Lucy (Jessica Riley) has several suitors. Harker has traveled to meet an elderly unknown client in far off Transylvania where he encounters the enigmatic Count Dracula (JM Specht) and is struck by a mysterious illness. Meanwhile, Dr. Seward proposes to Lucy and is rejected but she falls ill and requires his attendance at her bedside. Professor Van Helsing (Beau Paul) is called to consult on Lucy's case only to discover her ailment is something supernatural and her condition is dire. Mina rushes to Transylvania to find her fiancé in a nearly catatonic state. It's only when Mina and Harker return to England is it discovered that Count Dracula has traveled ahead of them and become youthful on the blood of his latest victims. If you love garlic necklaces, flaming crosses or the good old stake through the heart, you won't be disappointed in the play's climax.
The Different Stages production is enjoyable and includes quite a few moments that elicit groans and giggles from the audience. As Renfield (Charles Stites) opens the show, setting the tone of slightly over the top camp that doesn't take itself too seriously. Trey Deason is wonderful as Lucy's suitor, Dr. Seward, who strives to save her while dealing with the madman Renfield in his asylum. As the title Count, JM Specht, is a combination of charming and creepy that is a delight. Kudos to the trio of Vampire Vixens, Sara Rashelle, Bridget Farias Gates and Jessica Medina who vamp for all they're worth at the Count's castle and along with Craig Kanne, double as set crew, seamlessly keeping the action going during excellent scene changes. Also worthy of mention is Patrick Anthony's lighting design where color is used to maximum effect and looks stunning with the constant flow of smoke billowing from above. Unfortunately it's the young ladies that are disappointing, Flanagan and Riley fail to hold a decent British accent for more than a few words at a time. Their acting is up to snuff but the lack of consistent dialect is distracting and puzzling in otherwise talented actors.
Ultimately DRACULA entertains and takes us back to the origin of a brilliant story with thrills and giggles along the way.

DRACULA by Steven Deitz
Different Stages at The Vortex Theatre, 2307 Manor Rd, Austin
RUNNING TIME: 2.5 Hours with one intermission.
PERFORMANCES: November 20 - December 12, 2015, Thursday thru Saturday at 8:00PM, Sunday at 6:00PM
TICKETS: $20 to $30


The Lewisville Grand Theater Reveals June Event Lineup Photo
The Lewisville Grand Theater Reveals June Event Lineup

The Lewisville Grand Theater has announced six engagements for June. Learn more about the lineup here!

Review: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST At The City Theatre Delivers Delightful Satire! Photo
Review: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST At The City Theatre Delivers Delightful Satire!

City Center Theatre's rendition of The Importance of Being Earnest successfully brings Victorian England to life through its set design, costumes, and charming performances. The play's clever humor and satire shine through the comedic portrayal of societal norms and the exploration of dual identities. The talented cast, led by remarkable portrayals of Algernon and Jack, adds depth to Wilde's beloved play. This production is a delightful experience that should not be missed by theater enthusiasts of all ages.

Review: SANCTUARY CITY at Ground Floor Theatre Photo
Review: SANCTUARY CITY at Ground Floor Theatre

What did our critic think of SANCTUARY CITY at Ground Floor Theatre? SANCTUARY CITY, written by Martyna Majok and produced by the Ground Floor Theatre, presents a thought-provoking exploration of DREAMers, the concept of sanctuary, and the complexity of how to live as an undocumented immigrant in the United States.

Tapestry Dance Performs the Texas Premiere of ITS ABOUT TIME at the Rollins Studio Theatre Photo
Tapestry Dance Performs the Texas Premiere of IT'S ABOUT TIME at the Rollins Studio Theatre

Tapestry Dance will present the Texas premiere of It’s About Time, which honors legendary jazz tap dancer Sarah Petronio, at the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center on June 16 & 17 at 8 p.m.

From This Author - Lynn Beaver

Austin native Lynn Beaver has been active in local theatre for the past 25 years. She saw her first play in 1974 and fell completely in love with the performing arts. Lynn has been a director, ac... (read more about this author)


#repshow# in[i]# The Mad Ones
Austin Community College Drama Department (6/08-6/25)Tracker
#repshow# in[i]# The Zoo Story
The Saturni Theatre at the Grove Amphitheatre in Southpark Meadows (6/03-6/11)Tracker
#repshow# in[i]# Desperately Seeking Comfortable Shoes
jkjk (6/21-6/25)
#repshow# in[i]# Big Fish
Austin Playhouse (6/02-7/02)
#repshow# in[i]# The Memorandum
The VORTEX (7/21-7/29)
#repshow# in[i]# It's About Time
Rollins Studio Theater at the Long Center (6/16-6/17)
#repshow# in[i]# AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
The Wimberley Players (6/30-7/23)
#repshow# in[i]# The Art of Martyrdom (A Comedy) by Rita Anderson
The VORTEX (6/23-7/09)
#repshow# in[i]# The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard
Dougherty Arts Center (7/14-7/29)
#repshow# in[i]# Trip to Bountiful
Bastrop Opera House (6/30-7/16)

Recommended For You