Dracula Dracula is a penetrating look at the novel written by Bram Stoker in 1890. This is just to let you know right up front that The Stratford Festival's Dracula, is a keeper. Richard Ouzounian, who creates an evening of theatrical magic, directed this thrilling production. You, yourself can experience this astonishing play from May 19 to November 7 1999 at the Avon theatre in Stratford. This fairly modernized theatre is comfortable, and has a lot more legroom than some other theaters I have experienced. The set was interesting, and changes were quick and effectively done.
Dracula takes place in the year 1897. The play occurs in Transylvania and England. The play begins with a lawyer named Jonathan Harker, visiting Count Draculas castle in Transylvania to finalize the count's purchase of an English estate. Soon, however the lawyer finds himself a prisoner of his client. This is not just any regular client though, it is the blood sucking Dracula! Finally Jonathan escapes from his scary host, and sends word of his escape to his fiancÃÂ©e, Mina Murray. Mina has him sent directly sent home to England. Mina's best friend Lucy, also the fiancÃÂ©e of Jonathan's best friend Dr. Jack Steward falls under Draculas spell once he returns to England. After being bit by Dracula, Lucy turns pale, and her health goes down hill from there. Dr. Stward, her fiancÃÂ© send for his old mentor, Dr. Van Helsing. Immediately, the doctor realizes what is wrong with Lucy. It is not too late to save her. In order to save Lucy, they must drive a wooden stake through her heart. After doing so, the Dracula is very upset. They had taken from him, the love of his life. Since Jonathan had been the one to do the stabbing, he seduced his fiancÃÂ©e, Mina into joining him in the dark side. Who does Mina choose? The powerful Count Dracula, or the love of her life Jonathan? Dracula, is an intense musical. It teaches you that everyone needs to feel loved at some point in their lives, even those people who are so cold, we would think it would have never crossed their minds. Audiences of all ages attended this play. It may not be suitable for younger children, only because they might not be able to follow the plot. It is recommended for those over the age of 10.
Excellent spacing was used throughout the play. All parts of the stage were used at all times. The scenes flowed very well and were easy to understand. I think Richard Ouzounian did an extraordinary job directing and I would definitely see another of his plays. Fireworks added an extra "umph" to the play's special effects area. They made the play come alive. Simon Marsden was the technical director.
The actors made the play work well. All of them did a fantastic job. I especially thought Lucy (Amy Walsh) has an amazing voice. She did an excellent job, portraying a young woman, who only wants to have a happy life full of love. Dracula (Juan Chioran) was flawless at the role of Count Dracula. He had very good actions and choreography. Mina Murray (June Crowley) played Andrews fiancÃÂ©e. She had fantastic projection of she voice. Although I do not thin she made great use of body movements and body language. Jonathan Harker (Roger Honeywell) grabbed the attention of all, when entering the stage. He did a very good job acting as a lovesick young man. He wanted everything to turn out for himself and Mina. R.M. Renfield (Benedict Campbell) was one of my favorites. He was very funny and used good movement and use of his body, especially his hands. Jack Steward (Shawn Wright) had a very strong voice as well, although he did not catch my attention as did the rest of the cast.
Simon Marsden (Technical Director) and Christopher Wheeler (Electronics Technologist) did a fantastic job with the special effects. When the flash went off, my heart jumped and I definitely could not see the actors leave the stage, which is why I presume they had this effect. Lighting designer, Kevin Fraser, did a wonderful job in evoking the time of day, and concentrating light on action sequences. I especially noticed the lights right after the doctor told Lucy what was wrong with her when he saw the bite. Spotlights were on each one of the actors individually. This made for a very dramatic effect. Jeff Churchill did a very interesting job on the design of the set. It suited the play well and added interest to the play. Alix Dolgoy did a great job on the costumes, they were realistic of the time and also allowed the actors to move, or so it looked.
Dracula will keep your interest from beginning to end. There are so many wondrous elements and songs', seeing it once is not enough; you'll want to see this one again and again.