When the audience stood up to leave after Dracula: The Bloody Truth on Saturday night, the person behind me said something to the effect of, “Well, that was fun!”
I couldn’t agree more.
The three-letter word, however simple, sums up Western Canada Theatre’s latest production — and the theatre company’s return to Sagebrush Theatre — perfectly.
It left me giggling in my seat and yearning for a cape this Halloween to pull over my face and perform over-the-top zany spin moves just as Kirk Smith, who took on the role of Dracula, did throughout the duration of the comedy.
The lens through which the story is told, that of Professor Abraham van Helsing (performed by Christopher Hunt) putting on a play to tell the real story of Dracula, sets the stage to transform a seemingly dark and spooky tale into one of slapstick humour.
Everything seemed to go wrong during the show inside the show, from the actors getting injured to wearing the wrong costume to being on stage at the wrong (right) time. One scene utilizing a doll revealed just how perfectly, in fact, everything was going to execute the poorly executed play. Though it appeared to be sloppily positioned on a chair, the doll fell over at just the right time in the exact proper place to reveal its butt to the audience and show that this seemingly hastily performed play within a play was crafted seamlessly behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, a scene wherein the stage began falling apart had at least this audience member looking up at the roof trusses of Sagebrush Theatre, which re-opened for this autumn production after a cracked truss was discovered earlier this year and shuttered the facility that is adjacent to South Kamloops secondary.
Was that, too, a coincidence or, perhaps, also appropriately timed to pitch a new performing-arts centre, with memberships sold by members of the society pushing the plan during intermission and after the show?
(The society’s goal is to sell 1,000 during the run of Dracula.)
To that end, Sagebrush was back to its full glory on a Saturday night, though the show was not sold out. One note if a performing-arts centre does, in fact, come to fruition. Patrons sipping back coffee during intermission would have perhaps enjoyed a glass of wine, while taking in a long weekend night on the town in the local arts scene.
Nevertheless, more fun came from watching the small cast of four run around and perform countless characters. With the amount of costume, voice and gender changes, one would have thought many more actors were on stage than were actually cast in Dracula: The Bloody Truth.
It must have taken a lot of physical and mental capacity to run on and off stage, swap outfits, change accents, remember lines and transform themselves into new and believable characters. Kudos to that quartet, which also included Christy Bruce and Natascha Girgis.
Overall, I would recommend this show for a fall night out in Kamloops. It is fun, cute, entertaining, cackle-worthy — whatever you want to call it.
Check it out through Oct. 19 at Sagebrush Theatre, 1300 Ninth St. Tickets are available at Kamloops Live box office, 250-374-5483, 1025 Lorne St. or online at kamloopslive.ca.