It’s ponderous to think if Bram Stoker ever suspected his 1897 gothic horror novel would go on to inspire a sub-genre a century less than a century after it was first published.
If he did, it’s highly doubtful he could have possibly imagined the kind of fangs playwright Liz Lochhead could give the tale with a feminist spin that’s every bit intriguing as it is sensational.
Not only does the Shaw Festival’s mesmerizing staging go straight for the jugular vein of theatre loyalists looking for a unique experience, it’s easy to see why the story that feasts on the idea of subconscious desire that lurks within us all can also seize the attention of non-traditional audiences with a hunger for mystification.
It’s dramatically captivating, seductively suspenseful and just the play to make you stockpile copious amounts of garlic on your nightstand before you go to sleep.
Director Ed Holmes makes you feel as if you’re more than just a fly on the wall her tempting presentation that at times is technically mind-blowing with a few of its surprises. Combined with Alan Brodie’s creepish lighting, you get the overwhelming impression that the danger is real.
Much of this comes from the little things like Graeme Somerville’s haunting musical moment as Renfield backed up with distorted guitar and a driving baseline.
Dracula himself, played by the deliciously tasting Allan Louis, doesn’t make a lot of stage appearances but the actor’s dominant presence to establish his varied scenes is genuinely calculating.
Whether you’re a vampire lover or a vampire killer, there’s plenty to digest in this moist production for an era feeling more and more like the dark ages.
DRACULA by Bram Stoker, adapted by Liz Lochhead July 8-Octoer 14, 2017 FESTIVAL THEATRE, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario TICKETS $25.00 – $117.00 www.shawfest.com 1-800-511-7429 CAST Allan Louis, Marla McLean, Cherissa Richards, Natasha Mumba, Ben Sanders, Martin Happer, Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Rebecca Gibian, Cameron Grant, Marci T. House, Moya O’Connell, Chick Reid, Graeme Somerville and Steven Sutcliffe DIRECTOR Eda Holmes SET & COSTUMES Michael Gianfrancesco LIGHTING Alan Brodie PROJECTION DESIGN Cameron Davis ORIGINAL MUSIC & SOUND John Gzowski