From the very moment the house lights dim, you know you’re in for a helluva ride. The lights, the sounds, the fog all conspiring to transport you into another realm, nothing new there. But then the actors take the stage, gigantic wheels begin to turn…seriously, I mean literally gigantic wheels begin to crank as set pieces mechanically move into place. For the following two hours, I and my friends sat slack-jawed at the talent that paraded before us; Bernard DiCasimirro, practically climbs the walls as Renfield, a manic resident of the institution run by Seward, a mourning widower aptly portrayed by Timothy Petrillo. An untimely death, a spreading sickness and an odd new neighbor inspire a visit from Van Helsing, doctor and long-time friend of the family played by Brian Wayman. He owns the stage as he endeavors to diagnose our damsel in distress, Lucy. Acted beautifully by Kori Rife, we witness the evolution of the character as well as the artistic range of Ms. Rife.
Before long, we are introduced to the title character, Dracula. Played by Ricardo Esteves, his very presence on stage made my skin crawl. As the story arcs, we are permitted to see just how far is influence has reached. Even the unswerving Mistress of the house, Miss Sullivan, brilliantly depicted by Regina Deavitt, succumbs to the will of the monster.
The creepy, crawly cast is rounded out by Nathan Kusisto, Glenn Guarino, Marsha McCanney, Ryan Harris, Lisa Krier, Zachary Wayman, Corey Burlingame, Erin Bell and Estelle Halka. Not a weak link in the chain.
But I saved the best for last; Director, Gabrielle Affleck. Known for directing Bridge Players Theater Company’s, WAIT UNTIL DARK and BAD SEED, she obviously had a vision, dark as it was, and the good sense to surround herself with some of community theater’s most talented technical geniuses. Bob Beaucheane, the Technical Director and Jim Frazer the Set Designer have taken community theater to another level. As the blood gushes and the lightning claps, you’ll wonder where this caliber of community theater has been all your life.
Adapted by William McNulty
Directed by Gabrielle Affleck
November 1-16, 2013
Burlington County Footlighters
808 Pomona Road
Cinnaminson, New Jersey 08077