Dracula Review at at the NoHo Arts Center - Love Cannot Be Denied

Many of us know the story of Dracula and perhaps a few of us have seen a version of Bram Stroker’s original story, but it was nothing like this magnificent stage play done at the NoHo Arts Center.  Rewritten for the event by Hamilton Deane and John L.Balderston and directed by Ken Sawyer in association with David Elzer.

The cast features Rob Arbogast as Dracula, Joe Hart as Van Helsing, Darcy Jo Martin as Lucy, J.R. Mangels as Jonathan Harker, Alex Robert Holmes as Renfield, Karesa McElheny asDr. Seward, Mara Marini as Mina, Tahni Delong as the Maid and Chad Coe as the Attendant.

Slightly darker and a lot sexier than the original Dracula, this adaptation of Stoker’s story has Lucy Seward has come to her mother’s sanitarium for a visit and has been attacked by a mysterious illness.  Her mother, Dr. Seward, has called in the famous Dr. Van Helsing, a specialist, who believes that the girl has been taken victim by a vampire.  Their neighbor, strangely enough, is Count Dracula.  The play is enlivened when Jonathan Harker comes to visit his fiancé only to find her very much changed.  Reinfeld, one of the inmates of the asylum, has himself been also attacked by Dracula and begs to have his soul released.  He is forever being chased around by the attendant, who is chasing the maid.  

Joe Hart (Van Helsing) Rob Arbogast (Dracula)

Van Helsing starts to suspect the truth when Mina dies and there are reports of children in the village being attacked by a pretty lady.  He presents the herb wolfbane to Reinfeild and realizes that his reaction means he has been taken over.  Seeing the tooth marks on Lucy’s neck, his suspicions are confirmed.  He sets a trap for the vampire but can’t understand, since Dracula must sleep in soil from his homeland, how he came to be in England. Then they find out about the ship that docked with 6 coffins full of dirt and the captain dead.

Dracula, knowing of Van Helsing’s trap, seduces the maid to assist him in getting to Lucy, whom he deems as the love of his life.  His desire is to make Lucy the Queen of his empire.  

Having been tainted with Dracula’s blood, herself, Lucy changes from the mild mannered young lady to a wild hellion. Jonathan doesn’t know what to make of this but he believes Van Helsing even though Dr. Seward still doubts.  

The three of them trap and release the soul of Mina and turn their attention, with the help of Reinfield, on finding where Dracula sleeps during the day.

In a final battle, Dracula is dispatched but not before Lucy declares her undying love.  

The special effects – bat sounds, wolf sounds, fog and thunder and lightning kept the audience glued.  I even jumped a few times when the spooky voices came from the audience.

On a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 10.  Go see it.  

The play runs until Sunday March 22 at 3 pm.  Tickets cost $25 each (students and seniors are $20) For tickets call 818-508-7101 x7 or visit www.thenohoartscenter.com.  

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