Dracula Takes a Bite at the North Coast Repertory Theatre

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I woke up this morning, the last vestiges of night clinging to the barely moving trees shrouded in thick fog. Or was this just my imagination stimulated by last night’s Dracula. Set aside contemporary logic. Enter the 19th century and the world of Bram Stoker and immerse yourself in North Coast Rep’s production of suspense and seduction. Playwright Steven Dietz’s take on this classic is chilling.

Renfield (Sean Sullivan), in a short introduction, sets the scene only to be considered insane and caged for most of the play. Sullivan is totally convincing, as is each member of the cast.

Harker (Jason Heil) is the first to come under the spell of Dracula (Matt Thompson). Life spins down hill for Lucy (Christy Yael) and becomes perilous for Mini (Brenda Dodge). Leave it to the machinations of Van Helsing (Robert Grossman), Seward (Christopher M. Williams), and Harker to bring order to the chaos.

Dracula was abetted by two lovely Vixens (Michelle Procopio and Sunny Smith) as well as a couple of Attendants (Dylan Seaton and Beryln James Wieland) who kept things moving on stage.

Dracula is an experience, more than a play. Once immersed into the dark depths of depravity as the devil reincarnate, he sucks the life-blood out of the innocent, making them become a part of his reality.

Director Christopher Vened brought together a great cast who have given Dracula a great look and power. Marty Burnett’s excellent set consists of three areas; Renfield’s cell on stage right, a bedroom on stage left, and a variety of locations center stage, with three sided set pieces that were drapes, doors, and stone walls matching the back wall. Michelle Hunt’s costumes were distinctive. M. Scott Grabau’s lighting design was very dramatic. Chris Luessman’s sound design is an integral part of this event. It is that extra omnipresent character. Luessman’s best design to date.

Dracula, in this season of ghosts and goblins, is a near-perfect production. So get in the spirit of blood and puncture wounds; you’ll never forget it.

The show plays at North Coast Rep Thursday thru Sunday, October 20 to November 18, 2007. I strongly recommend reservations (858 481-1055) as tickets should be going fast.

Cast

Brenda Dodge, Robert Grossman, Jason Heil, Michelle Procopio, Dylan Seaton, Sunny Smith, Sean Sullivan, Berlyn James Weiland, Christopher Williams, Christy Yael, Matt Thompson

Technical Staff

Costume Designer Michelle Hunt, Scenic Designer Marty Burnett, Sound Designer Chris Luessmann, Light Designer M. Scott Grabau, Prop Designer Bonnie Durben

Total Rating: Three Stars

Genre: Suspense

Author: Steven Dietz based on the novel by Bram Stoker

Director: Christopher Vened

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2007

Dates: Thursday thru Sundays, October 20 to November 18, 2007

Running Time: 145 minutes with a 15-minute intermission

North Coast Repertory Theatre

987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive

Solana Beach, California

Box Office Phone 858 481-1055.

Robert Hitchcox is a playwright, critic and fiction author, who reviews live theatre.