|Kale Burr and Sarah Scroggins (center)|
Photo by Lisa Webb / Southwest Shots Photography
".There have been countless film and theatrical adaptations of Bram Stoker's classic gothic novel "Dracula." Actor's Youth Theatre presented a brand new version which just ended a two-week run that delivered plenty of chills and thrills with robust characters and meaty situations for AYT's teenage cast to sink their teeth into. Written and directed by Zack Diepstraten, this new adaptation sticks fairly close to Stoker's original novel, though it does streamline some of the plot elements....
...Diepstraten also changes a few of the male characters to women, ...The gender changes and the streamlining of the plot don't detract at all from the joy of Stoker's story. However, Diepstraten's decision to have three different actors portray various incarnations of Dracula, while an inventive move, does add some confusion due to unclear transitions between the three versions of the Count, especially when a younger and handsomer version first appears in England under a different name, and an end battle scene that has all three actors on stage at the same time. Fortunately that is the only stumble in the script as Diepstraten's dialogue is crisp and period appropriate and provides some added layers to the characters beyond just being plot specific....Kale Burr, Noah Delgado, and Carter Palumbo played the three versions of Count Dracula. Burr delivered a perfectly polished portrayal of the romantic, domineering and seductive leading man who entrances Mina, and Delgado did well as the older and creepier version. ...Palumbo, wearing a superb monster costume, played the beastly version with a fierceness that added chills in his many scenes. Sarah Scroggins was excellent as Mina, a strong though confused woman. Her scenes with AJ Marshall, who was equally as good as Lucy, though dialogue heavy, were well delivered and added a nice balance to the creepier moments. Ben Wright added some moments of humor as the funny, smart and direct Van Helsing..Zack Diepstraten's direction provided a swift pace for the piece but also allowed for some of the more intimate and personal moments to resonate. While the cast was all quite good, some needed to project more, as there were many lines of dialogue that were missed, even though several actors wore body microphones. ...While it didn't add anything new in the way to present Stoker's famous story, Zack Diepstraten's new adaptation of Dracula did find an interesting way to portray three different incarnations of the famous vampire. With a talented cast and fine creative aspects, Actor's Youth Theatre's production was a creepy and fun theatrical treat. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)