Review: ‘Dracula’ during We Happy Few

Halloween might be over, yet a fear deteriorate is still in full swing. We Happy Few Theatre Company invites we to “listen to a children of a night” with Dracula, a repertoire production, during CHAW, a Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. It is a third in their month-long fear trifecta that began mid-October and continues by Nov 10th.

Left to Right: Grant Cloyd, Meg Lowey, Jon Reynolds and Kerry McGee. Photo by Mark Williams Hoelscher
Left to Right: Grant Cloyd, Meg Lowey, Jon Reynolds and Kerry McGee. Photo by Mark Williams Hoelscher

Imagine, please, a book on tape- forgive me- on CD, (showing my age again, like a lace-trimmed taffeta slip). Imagine that instead of a book being review by a author, it is review by a expel of voices, masculine and female, portraying all of a book’s characters. Imagine a book is created in a lofty superannuated tone, like maybe Shakespeare or one of a Brontës with many writerly embellishments and descriptions. Imagine a animation of a actors creation a denunciation easy to understand. Imagine adding song and shade puppets to addition a actors. Now suppose all of this in your vital room, customarily a vital room is cooler than your vital room since it has an accordion in it. Cease your imaginings and behold: a author is Bram Stoker, a book is Dracula and a actors are DC’s We Happy Few.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, was created in a tradition of “invasion literature” renouned in England during that time. It was not a initial instance of a vampire, however; predating it by adult to 100 years were an collection of poems and stories referencing a blood-thirsty hades beings of Carpathian folklore.

We Happy Few’s promotional duplicate includes difference such as “faithful confluence to Stoker’s text” and “immersive staging” that sound intimidating, yet fear not (or, well, DO, yet not since of this), as “faithful adherence” means “authentic denunciation right out of a book” rather than “we’re going to review we a WHOLE THING.” Immersive entertainment is not (as we imagined) a carwash-like plenitude of gossamer swinging tendrils from above and synthetic haze from below, yet rather being seated around a “stage” with 27 other people, actors brushing by for entrances and exits, addressing a assembly directly, charity morsels of food.

The show, sorry- melodramatic eventuality – starts solemnly and with good precision, introducing us to during slightest 4 storylines, and a characters therein, all of whom are portrayed by a same 4 actors. As a story continues, a gait picks adult to brisk, afterwards hurried, afterwards frantic, heading a storylines to eventually converge, culminating in a climactic stage of fear to pleasure fans of a fantastical and frightening. And then, a song!

Director Robert Pike conceives a fast-paced tale, and his gifted performers broach with pizzazz and flourishes. Jack Novak as Dracula is graceful, fluent and mostly seen as a shadow. Meg Lowey, personification (among others, yet primarily) Mina Murray, is lovely, cool, smooth, and a many glorious musician. Her singing voice creates pleasant a thing that justly should be horrible: this arrange of juncture seems in gripping with We Happy Few’s aesthetic. Playing a Russian ship’s captain and Van Helsing, Jon Reynolds is comical with smashing voices and spot-on timing. Kerry McGee, billed also as Artistic Director of Theatrical Events, plays Jonathan Harker, Lucy, and Renfield by turns and with such distinctiveness and appetite that one feels she might’ve taken on a purpose of Mina also, solely for a awkwardness of staging. She demonstrates as good a sold bravery with a tambourine.

Kerry McGee. Photo by Mark Williams Hoelscher
Kerry McGee. Photo by Mark Williams Hoelscher

Sound is supposing by vocalizations, clapping, stomping, and an array of low-pitched instruments, including a aforementioned accordion, which, in a interests of accuracy, we contingency contend is, in fact, a accordion’s cousin, famous to musicians as a Harmonium. These are all really effective, generally in a early partial of a show, when we need a small some-more guidance. Props to Dan Smeriglio, Lighting Designer, as a lighting tech is so pointed and ideal that we didn’t even notice it, that is surprising for me. Paige O’Malley provides Victorian-esque costuming that is revealing rather than period-accurate, with a concentration on mobility and discerning changes. I’m never confused about whom I’m looking during from impulse to moment, a strong feat, considering.

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is easy adequate to find, yet maybe wily to enter if one is mobility-compromised. There are stairs to a entrance- we don’t privately remember an elevator, yet we acknowledge to not carrying investigated that angle extensively. The “Somewhere In The Neighborhood” character of parking done me shaken about my automobile being ticketed, as signage featured “NO” utterly prominently. If we have a choice of nearing alternatively, I’d advise it.

In their delivery of a authentic story of Dracula, We Happy Few delivers an radical form of opening many customarily compared with improvisational theatre. They grasp this with customarily elementary technical effects that produce high thespian impact and exclusively invisible gore. They so grasp a high-touch, worldly event, a precipitated Dracula with wit and thespian tension, that is literary, intellectual, severe and innovative, and sometimes, intensely funny.

Running Time: One hour, with no intermission.

We Happy Few’s Dracula plays through November 10 during CHAW, a Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. For tickets, go online.

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