Monday, October 26, 2015


Two punctures the resemble a snake bite on someone's neck mean one thing, vampires.  The most famous of these creatures is the legendary, "Dracula."
The Chanticleer Community Playhouse is hosting this play through this weekend.  Loosely based based on Bram Stoker's novel, this production has been adapted to theater by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. 
Matthew Kelehan has the part of Dracula.  The character he creates is slightly stooped in posture and just creepy. Yes, he is portraying a villain and unquestionably seems almost slimy and a little difficult to understand.  This is not a Dracula anyone would enjoy being near for long.  The character is not likeable but he is not suppose to be someone you would want to be near.
The role of Dr. Seward is played by Alfred J. Salanitro and Mark W. Reid convincingly becomes the expert Van Helsing.   Amanda K. Vyhnalek is Lucy whose best friend just died of an illness very similar to symptoms she is currently experiencing.  Geana Schneider doubles in her roles of Miss Wells and the dearly departed Mina.  Adam Haverman portrays Lucy's concerned fiancé. 
Unquestionably, Andy Niess as Renfield is perfectly cast into the role of being insane and succeeds with making the audience wonder if he is insane or a victim of Dracula.  Also strangely, his character or his interpretation makes this character likable.  While either eating the flies or feeding the flies to the spiders, he constantly entertains the audience with his escapes from his room at the home of Dr. Seward.  He aylso effectively teaches the audience the difference between a sanitarium and a lunatic asylum. 
Michael Taylor Stewart plays Butterworth and also is responsible designing the set and being technical director.
This set perfectly matches the Victorian era with the furnishings and décor.  Obviously the director, designer, and producers are masterfully invisible with the lights and sound even effectively bringing in some background music.  The support crews including costumes, make-up, and hair are outstanding.
This production is appropriate for any one over the age of ten.  There are no innuendos of sexual situations or inappropriate language.  The show lasts a little over ninety minutes including an intermission.  You want to be seated in the center or on  the right side facing the stage or you will miss an event near the conclusion.
"Dracula" continues through this weekend with the curtain opening at 7:30 on Friday and Saturday night, 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 1st.   An additional performance has been added on Friday at 10:30 p.m. which requires reservations.  Both Friday shows also have opportunities for the audience to participate in a costume party and refreshments following the first show.  The judging for costumes will be in the Chanticleer's lobby  between 9:30 and 10p.m. with chances to win gift baskets and gift cards.
For all the shows the ticket prices for adults is $20, $16 for seniors over 60 years of age and $10 for students. Reservations are available by contacting the box office at (712) 323-9955  located at 830 Franklin Ave. in Council Bluffs.
Halloween is always enjoyable for children that many people miss.  The Chanticleer Community Theater is allowing everyone to again enjoy dressing up in costumes, having a party, and being scared by the creepy "Dracula."
You might want to consider wearing a scarf to keep away the autumn chill or to hide those two little puncture wounds on your neck.

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