Superb acting fuels RDC’s rendition of Dracula

From the chilling musical score to the creepy, shadowy set to the solid acting, Red Deer College theatre studies’ interpretation of Dracula offers an affective and eerie interpretation of the literary horror classic.

Its run continues on the Arts Centre mainstage through to Feb. 16 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. A matinee performance also runs Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

The story, which was written by Bram Stoker in the late 1890s, has been richly brought to life by Calgary-based director/actor Haysam Kadri. He opted for Steven Dietz’s brisk and sharply-crafted script, which has also been described as being remarkably close to the novel.

The play features a ‘stylish’ villain, played by Callahan New, from 1910 London who ‘transforms from an old, decrepit man to a virile youth’ via his unrelenting appetite for blood.

The mysterious Dracula brings a potent sense of dread and foreboding whenever he shows up, and New is superb at capturing that always menacing aspect of the character.

He’s seductive, vicious, evil, manipulative and deceitful but at times strangely charming. New has brought all these shifting shades of Dracula’s personality to vivid life in fine form.

Raegan Aleman is also terrific as Mina, who is drawn deeper into the web via her unsuspecting fiancé Jonathan Harker, also played exceptionally well by Nathan Johnson. It’s Harker who first encounters the old ragged Dracula during a business trip in Trannsylvania – an encounter that of course has dire, drastic and far-reaching consequences.

Kirsten Harper is also outstanding as Lucy – another victim of Dracula who descends into darkness and inescapable tragedy. Then there is Dr. Seward who loves Lucy, and is a subsequent witness to her heartbreaking undoing and ultimate devastation. Played with incredible energy and convincing emotion, Mitchel Roelfsema injects plenty of power and heart into the part as does Steven Pecksen as the earnest and single-minded Van Helsing who guides the survivors to the sole means of destroying the calculating evil that is Dracula. Daryn Tessier also deserves special mention for the sheer intensity she brings to the role of Renfield.

Of course, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the show are the gifted folks dealing with the intricacies of sound, lighting, costuming and set design – all of which enrich Dracula immensely. Carrie Hamilton, Cindy Zuby, Patrick Beagan, Sui-Fan Wong and Jeremy Spencer have created an eerie atmosphere and always-changing atmosphere that includes a chandelier made of bones, bats, blood and coffins all brought together with a brooding soundscape – original music written for this production by the Calgary-based Spencer.

Ultimately, director Kadri has clearly brought so much of his tremendous artistic experience to every single aspect of this show. He’s put together a stylish, well executed and sophisticated drama, and most importantly has strongly inspired his already fabulous cast to pour their hearts and souls into the show from start to finish.

For tickets, check out www.blackknightinn.ca or call 403-755-6626.

editor@reddeer.greatwest.ca

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