Tuesday, September 20

Theater Review: IRT: Dracula

IRT flew into 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 Steven 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 McCollum, just one shade lighter, enter the supporting role of Reinfeld, played by Dieterich Gray.

Reinfeld's role as insane asylum inmate brings forth the darkest of fears and mood-lightening barbs in pingpong fashion, keeping the audience from slipping too far into the depths of Stoker's world of vampires. Gray's ability to balance precariously on the cliff overlooking complete mental fracture is emphasized by his rapier wit and vulnerable undercurrent.

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.
Jennifer Joan Thompson brings to the stage, Lucy, the opposition: a lighthearted, fully alive personality which proves the ultimate temptation to the wicked immortal.

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 the overtly sensual mood to permeate the theater, emotionally saturating theatergoers with the pulsating need of the Count of Transylvania: blood.

Bottom Line: IRT's "Dracula" sets the standard for all Indianapolis area theaters to reach this season.

Photo Credit: JulieCurryPhotography.com
For Dracula tickets, performance times and details, visit IRTLive.com.
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. Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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