archive
links
essays

Dracula

Mario Labrador as Dracula
Mario Labrador as Dracula
Photo: Mike Watson
 
The scariest ghoul of them all has booked a return engagement to open the Colorado Ballet's 62nd season, with the second and final weekend quickly approaching. Apparently that small window of time will give the former Romanian noble, Vlad the Impaler, the opportunity to draw enough blood to resurrect his immortal undead crusade—unless, of course, Dr. Van Helsing and his cohorts can stop him. Our escape from the zombie apocalypse hangs in the balance.

Jennifer Grace as Lucy and Mario Labrador as Dracula
Jennifer Grace as Lucy and Mario Labrador as Dracula
Photo: Mike Watson
Based on Bram Stoker's famous story, the production contains some of the best dream-sequence and nightmare effects ever performed on stage, and the choreography, a mix of modern and classical, is alternately elegant and explosive. In addition to Pink's emotive choreography, Philip Feeney's epic score, filled with stunnning atmospherics and sound effects, is delivered with exuberance by maestro Adam Flatt and the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Lez Brotherston's impressive sets and striking costumes, and David Grill's dramatic lighting create a mood that, given the live experience, surpasses any of the great films on this subject.

Left to Right, Jonnathan Ramirez as Harker, Mario Labrador as Dracula, and Dana Benton as Mina
(L to R) Jonnathan Ramirez as Harker,
Mario Labrador as Dracula,
and Dana Benton as Mina
Photo: Mike Watson
Like many popular late 19th-Century epics, such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde, Stoker's Dracula delineates the Victorian struggle between the dark, sensual forces of the Id, and the then contemporary English values of rationality and control. Following the opening act's subliminal terror and sensual eroticism, Act II returns us to sensibility and cultural boundaries with refined period dances, albeit replete with a smattering of comical flirting, until the skies darken, the lights flicker, and Dracula disrupts the superficial sense of security. The action reaches a crescendo in the final act when, after a wild struggle, the villain is put to rest (at least until next year).

Mario Labrador as Dracula
(Mario Labrador as Dracula
Photo: Mike Watson
On Saturday night, Mario Labrador makes his mark as the lord of the undead, alternately statuesque and reptilian, slithering like a snake, hanging like a bat, casting spells like Mesmer, and wooing like Valentino.

He, in turn, seduces Harker (Jonnathan Ramirez) and Mina (Dana Benton), before turning his sights on his favorite prize, Lucy, the flighty and, after a close encounter with the Count, fully possessed Jennifer Grace.

Bryce Lee's psychotic Renfield infuses an already edgy atmosphere with a streak of irrationality, while Lucy's two suitors, Quincy (Nicolas Pelletier), a successful rancher from America's wild west (a romantic notion in Europe during the mid- and late-19th century), and Arthur (Christophor Moulton), a military officer, do their utmost to try to save her from the undead; but, a nurse's removal of the garlic garland that Van Helsing (Gregory Gonzales) had draped around her hospital bed (like Harker's earlier removal of a crucifix given to him by one of the Transylvanian villagers), allows free passage for the fellow with those elongated incisors.

The Colorado Ballet's presentation of Dracula at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House runs through Sunday, October 16th. All performances are sold out.

Bob Bows



  Current Reviews | Home | Webmaster



If you enjoy our work, please Like our website.