Sunday, October 14, 2007

'Dracula' delivers a good bite

My freelance review:
'Tis the season... to be spooked.

Adapted from Bram Stoker's world-famous vampire novel, Dracula is the current production at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and it's definitely worth seeing. If this show doesn't get you into the spirit of Halloween, nothing will!

Particular kudos to scenic designer Paul Shortt for absolutely stunning sets. From the giant windows that open to reveal the balcony that Count Dracula leaps from... to the steps leading off to other parts of the mansion... to the transformation of the main set to the dungeon for the third act... definitely an intricate and pleasing set design!

Also contributing to the spooky atmosphere were the lighting (Kirk Bookman, lighting designer) -- was that moon glow real? -- and the eerie music (David B. Smith, composer) that would come from off-stage at just the right points.

And then there's the Count himself, played by Kurt Rhoads. Rhoads delivers a Count Dracula who's exactly as he should be -- both dashing and menacing.

The rest of cast does a good job, too, particularly Larry Bull in a supporting role. He offers a good mixture of suspense and humor in a show that delivers a surprising number of laughs.

There is one intermission between the first act and the combined second and third acts. The second and third acts go by very quickly. The pace of the show could have been improved with some judicious cutting within the first act; some of the dialog gets a bit heavy.

If you're fishing for a good show to see this Halloween season, the Rep's production of Dracula is a good bite.

Dracula plays through Nov. 4 at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in Webster Groves.

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