“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” Live at the Gracie Theatre

       In 1897 an Irish novelist and short story writer named “Bram Stoker”, penned his wild rantings of a demonic blood seeking vampire to parchment. These words entered the realm of reality on a dimly illuminated stage, bringing those very words to life before our eyes with the same fervor and dark intent our dear “Bram Stoker” delivered unto us over a century ago.

       The story has been altered in many of its depictions over time, but honoring this gothic classic in the fashion in which it has been placed before us is most refreshing and deadly accurate.

       We see “Dracula” as he is, a deceptive killer, hell-bent on thriving on human blood at the cost of lives lost and promises broken. It actually is a rather saddened and sullen tale of blood and love, for this ruthless harbinger of death has loved and lost his bride many centuries past. A love story gone mad. Faced with insurmountable odds, “Dracula’ and his army defeated the Turks in battle. In an act of vengeance, a letter was sent to his bride telling her of her husband’s death. Not able to live without him she flung herself from the castle tower plummeting to her death in the river below. “Dracula” in a rage of contempt renounced God and the church, vowing to rise from his own death, embracing evil as his father, forsaking the cross and all it stands for.

       The acting was a wonder brought to the stage with somber passion, unleashing the true emotions needed to enhance this gorge of eternal peril. All of the players gave the utmost sacrifice of praise to their respective characters. The maddening “Renfield”, played ever so practically by “Thomas James Frail” left you in a floating mental asylum within the depths of your own mind, casting continuous cacaphonies of contemptuous chatter in an unending hymn of psychotic derangement. And the relentless banter tossed about the air between “Jonathan Harker” (Benjamin Fields), “Dr. Seward” (Sam Crawford), and the authoritatively loquacious “Professor Van Helsing” (William Vassar), whose dramatic stance against evil commandeered the stage between light and shadow, released every facet of the human spirit.

       The well poised women in this epic fable “Mina” (Alexandrea Sleeper), and “Lucy” (Kaitlin Patnode), surmounted the atmosphere brusquely with forceful narrative standing firmly within the bounds of their entrapment with this darkened being, never relenting in their friendship for one another, and for the defeat of their supernatural nemesis “Dracula” (Jason Richards), whose profound intentions were far less than altruistic.

       And when evil comes about and manifests itself within the catacombs of your mind, do not welcome it with fear, for it preys and reaps upon the very thing it sows. Allow it not to spiral out of your hands and into the mouth of iniquity and depravity. “Van Helsing” stood against the powers of blackness causing them to cower at the mention of God and His word, for our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world and the next, rendering the lost souls away from the malicious grasp of evil incarnate.

       A most preternatural evening of love and blood. The blood is the life…