Review: This Dracula lacks bite

Chemainus Theatre’s vampire light on the chill factor

Ian Butcher’s Count Dracula struck the right tone

I’ve always been a fan of spooky stories and sitting on the edge-of-your-seat plots.

But unfortunately, Chemainus Theatre’s version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula didn’t get one scream, gasp, or jump out of my seat from me.

Although the theatre’s latest Edwardian, Sherlock Holmes-style world of the Count created by director Bernard Cuffling had several cool factors, it was slack in its scariness.

The excitement, anger and fear from character’s Dr. Seward (Erin Ormond), Seward’s daughter and Dracula victim Lucy Seward (Masae Day) and Lucy’s husband Jonathan Harker (Daryl King) fell a tad flat.

And the signature Psycho-esque shower scene shriek used in Cuffling’s bat scenes was overkill.A less recognizable sound effect would have been much more spookier.

Maid Miss Wells’ (Michelle Lieffertz) zombie-like moments under master Dracula’s spell got a few laughs, although that may not have been intentional.

Furthermore, I expect a lot more emotion, blood, even some signature Stoker erotica from Lucy during Dracula’s visits, although I understand the show was geared for younger folks as well — and for good reason as several were in the audience Saturday evening.

Standout players included the Count himself (Ian Butcher), Ted Cole as Dutch doctor Abraham Van Helsing and Ian Harmon as nutjob Renfield.

Dracula’s first appearance, rising from the floor beside Lucy’s bed, was pretty nifty as well as his pasty face appearing in the painting.

The closing stage set shift, where Renfield, Dracula, Van Helsing, Dr. Seward and Harker, travelled into the crypt, was amazing, and probably the coolest part of the production.

That and the final scene slaying of the man in black.

Kudos for pulling off the cool conclusion should also go out to set, lighting and sound designers Pam Johnson, Marsha Sibthorpe and Paul Tedeschini.

Dracula runs until Nov. 9. Call the theatre box office at 250-246-9800 for showtimes.

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