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Sonoma County Gazette
Dr. Seward (Lew Brown) is not convinced by the evidence that Mina’s condition is due to a supernatural attack.

Review – Count Dracula at Curtain Call Theatre in Monte Rio

Oct 16, 2018
by Alexa Chipman


Count Dracula (Mark Gregory) stalks the living to feast on their blood.Dracula’s insatiable thirst for human blood has become legendary, sparking countless adaptations and creative endeavors. The cloaked figure hovering in billowing fog over a helpless victim has captured the imagination with its chilling horror. In Ted Tiller’s three-act play, tongue-in-cheek, flirtatious dialogue has replaced the nightmarish Gothic quality of the novel by Bram Stoker, interspersed with ominous discussions regarding the existence of vampires.

Sinister and dignified, Mark Gregory’s Count Dracula, enhanced with red-rimmed eyes and pale complexion, has poise and confidence that radiates power. Assisted by clever effects throughout the set, such as balcony windows that open of their own accord, he is a convincing creature of the night.

The unhinged Renfield (Jake Hamlin) can no longer tell friend from foe.The outlandish asylum patient Renfield is persuaded to join his foul plot, offered a taste of fresh blood in return for services rendered. Jake Hamlin’s bizarre ranting and primal acrobatics are captivating and extraordinary. Intricate chalk drawings, velvet curtains and Victorian furnishings from his set design in collaboration with Michael Tabib is a fitting landscape for the story to unfold.

Director Nadja Masura explains that each scene has its own flavor and purpose, causing her to choose a variety of presentation styles. Unfortunately, the audience is observing it as a whole, and the constant switching between slapstick comedy, straightforward drama, and mysterious supernatural machinations feels disjointed. The lack of cohesion makes it challenging to relate to the production, despite individual elements being entertaining.

The plight of Professor Van Helsing desperately trying to convince his friends that vampires are real and that Mina is in significant peril is portrayed with rousing fervor by Joe Potter. He is undaunted by their skepticism; Potter’s dedication to the role infuses energy into a lagging second act.

Mina (Yelena Segal) fights to maintain her sanity against the powers of darkness.Although she is self-conscious as an actor, Michelle Randall’s Sybil Seward balances the lengthy plot with amusing sherry decanter antics and acerbic wit. Her ward, Mina (Yelena Segal), comes into her own during the transition between human and an undead creature, with wild moods and vicious dialogue.

Step into the eerie asylum and brave the fangs of ‘Count Dracula’ with an enthusiastic cast and classic tale of romance and nightmares.

Count Dracula

Presented by Curtain Call Theatre through October 27, 2018
Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 3:00pm

Russian River Hall
20347 Highway 116, Monte Rio 95462
(707) 524-8739

Photos by Chris Reid

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Alexa Chipman Live Theater reviews


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