REVIEW | OCTOBER 15, 2015 | With Bram Stroker’s Dracula turning 100 this year it seems only fitting that we kick-off our Halloween season with an interpretation of Steven Dietz’s Dracula in New York’s West Park Presbyterian Church. The show is produced by Three Day Hangover (T3H), a NYC theatre company that mounts classic plays in bars, most notably the 2013 production of The HAMLET Project: Summer in the City.
I love the near perfect sounding location for the performance TDH promises ‘an immersive and spine-tingling evening’ so we head over the the church only to find out we’re not really ‘in’ the church but more of a huge room in the basement but at least the lighting and set made up for the lack of stained glass and it felt creepy and appropriate.
Our Thursday night show was a small but mighty crowd of about 40 people plus the cast who milled about with the audience right up until showtime. For the next couple of hours we were treated to top notch performances by the entire cast plus the wacky musings of Renfield played by Paul Kite who created a combination of Gollum meets Uncle Fester. Michael Borelli playing Dracula was fun to watch, like being on the dance floor during Saturday Night Fever, made me want to dance along. The charming Miranda Noelle Wilson gave us a modern twist on Lucy who would periodically break out of character and offer the audience some priceless and very funny moments. The lighting also provided a grand sense of space and at times was helping to build a sense of fear within the room, and the use of flashlights by the actors worked at notching up the creepy factor.
There was a bit of an over emphasis on drinking, purchasing drinks and doing shots with the cast which kept taking me out of the experience. The company boasted about promoting responsible drinking and they did avoid over-serving or pushing drinks on the already intoxicated but chugging a full beer as a way of deciding a characters fate doesn’t feel so ‘responsible’ to me but it is better then having to wait for intermission to get a drink. The cast’s energy is infectious so even if you don’t booze it up you’ll love the experience of being ‘in’ this show. If Bram Stroker was alive he’d be proud. And a little drunk. #BoozyTheatre
Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker, featuring January LaVoy (ABC’s One Life to Live, Enron on Broadway) as Van Helsing the Vampire Slayer, Michael Borrelli, Jonathan Finnegan, Justin Yorio, Miranda Noelle Wilson, Nemuna Ceesay, and Paul Kite. September 30-October 17, 2015. Tickets.