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‘Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors’ is Bloody Good Fun!

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How well do you know Bram Stoker’s Dracula? The infamous count from Transylvania, who has a hankering for blood, sets off for England in search of new victims. It is a classic horror story dating back to 1897 that has been done to death, some pun intended. Every few years, a new version of Stoker’s novel seems to be brought to life on stage or screen, retelling the same familiar beats we’ve come to know and expect over the last century. So what sets Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors apart from the adaptations that have come before?

Those following our Broadway journey might already be familiar with Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, with a review from last year and an interview with the Off-Broadway Harker himself, Andrew Keenan-Bolger. This quirky play was a highlight of that New York City excursion, but hopes of seeing it again felt doubtful with the closing of the coffin doors at New World Stages. 

Picture my sheer surprise and uncontainable excitement when I stumbled upon the news that The Ringwald Theatre, nestled in Affirmations in Ferndale, Michigan, was preparing to stage their own rendition of Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors. This 90-minute play, crafted by Gordon Greenberg and Steven Rosen and directed by Brandy Joe Plambeck, rises from the grave with a fresh perspective and more laughter than ever before. This is a show you can’t afford to miss before it transforms into a bat and flies away from The Ringwald Theatre!

[Warning: Spoilers from Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors is below!]

A modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors begins similarly to Stoker’s original novel, with Jonathan Harker (Miles Bond) visiting the crumbling castle of the terrifying Count Dracula (Garett Michael Harris) to help purchase some property in London. Besides the Count’s eccentric dress, allusions to vampiric ways, and overly sexual tensions between the hot Dracula and the meek Harker, there isn’t anything too out of the ordinary about the encounter. That is, until Dracula sees a photograph of Harker’s fiancé, Lucy (Rashna “Rashi” Sarwar), whom he becomes instantaneously entranced by.

With a new target in his sight, Dracula sets off to London, bringing his queer brand of horror to a new town. Arriving via a ghost ship, thanks to his liquid diet, Dracula steps off on solid ground with six coffins of Transylvania dirt and a mission: make Lucy his bride or die trying. His arrival is untimely for Harker and his fiancé, who are celebrating their engagement with a party. 

The duo are an unlikely pair. Harker is always anxious, afraid of his own shadow and everything, while Lucy is strong, adventurous, and trapped in a time when her gender dictates her role in life. A child of science and a thirst for knowledge, Lucy is destined to be a wife and a mother instead of the world traveler she wants to be. There’s no denying that the two don’t love each other very much, but it’s difficult to see what keeps them together besides circumstance.

Cue Dracula, swooping in and dressed in lace and leather to throw a wrench in Harker and the Westfeldt’s lives. Dr. Westfeldt (Melissa Beckwith) is a Doctor for the criminally insane, attempting to rehabilitate those that society has written off, and his other daughter, Mina (Joe Bailey), is desperately seeking affection that is lacking from her life. When Mina falls sick and has mysterious bites on her neck, it’s a race against time for all involved to discover what is happening and who is responsible. They might be able to do so with a little help from Jean Van Helsing (Bailey), but regardless, the situation is perilous at best.

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors Harker and Dracula
Harker (Miles Bond) and Dracula (Garett Michael Harris). Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors (Ringwald Theatre).

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors brings a healthy does of laughter

What makes this play unique compared to other versions of the Dracula tale is that Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors transforms the usually dramatic story into something hilarious. Various levels of humor provide something for every theatergoer at The Ringwald Theatre. Many of the jokes are raunchy and sexual, addressing the queer subtext that is present in Stoker’s novel. While Dracula is pursuing Lucy, there is sexual energy between him and Harker, which makes the audience and actors laugh.

There are also plenty of highbrow jokes that discuss topical issues and the society we live in. Personally, while I will always giggle at a sex joke because, let’s be honest, sex is inherently funny. My favorite types of jokes are those that poke fun at the ridiculousness of the world that we have to endure daily. There are so many of these jokes, some that even felt ad-libbed as they referenced ideas that weren’t around in December. If these were actual script changes as the show was reworked from Off-Broadway to now, then they were smart choices, as staying relevant keeps audiences engaged differently. If they were indeed ad-libs from the actors, my hat is off to the cast that brought Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors to life.

Excellent cast and a more personal stage at The Ringwald Theatre

Having seen many different production levels of musicals and plays, you come to learn the level of engagement that is allowed or expected from a show. Traditionally, shows tend to be on a stage, removed from the general audience. The social exchange is more engaging than watching a film or television show on a screen, but less connective in that the audience is still just an observer of the on-goings on the stage. In a theater such as The Ringwald, audience members are more a part of the show, as the seats surround the stage.

It feels like a more immersive experience, as the acting is happening right there before you. Because you’re so close, the characters feel even more real and vibrant. I felt like I was someone at the engagement party, instead of a fly on the wall of a story that had nothing to do with it. It also made it more hilarious when you were that close and saw the actors attempting to keep it together themselves.

All five cast members at this performance were brilliant in their respective roles, with Rashi Sarwar being one of my favorites. Their particular brand of humor struck my funny bone in ways I cannot fully explain, as it wasn’t over the top but just perfectly exaggerated in all the right ways. They also broke character in many scenes, always making the audience laugh at being in on the joke. Joe Bailey was also a fan favorite, portraying Mina and Van Helsing. He also had impeccable comedic delivery, especially as the wacky Mina, who was so incredibly awkward that you couldn’t help but laugh and maybe cringe just a bit.

The audience also loved Garett Michael Harris as Dracula, which should be no surprise. When he came out on stage and began performing exercises shirtless, the crowd practically squealed with delight. Housing this show in an LGBTQ+ facility, Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors knew its audience. Harris is undeniably attractive, and the show used that to its advantage. Many shows that have been announced are already being sold out.

Catch Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors in your area when you can

Granted, not all the ticket sales can be linked to a shirtless guy in leather pants. The show is hilarious and gained quite the TikTok following when the Off-Broadway production was blasted across every screen. Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, if playing in your area, should always be on the top of your to-see list, as it’s undeniably enjoyable. Having seen it twice, I felt like a new show each time, and I would easily go see it again. I loved it that much.

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors is currently running at The Ringwald Theatre in Ferndale, Michigan. Let us know if you’ve seen this show on social media @mycosmiccircus or @boxseatbabes! To learn more about the Off-Broadway show, visit the official website!

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors is a Sexy Retelling of a Classic Horror Story

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Exclusive Interview: Andrew Keenan-Bolger from Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors

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Brian Kitson

Working hard to bring you the latest news and thoughtful analysis of all things nerdy!

Brian Kitson has 35 posts and counting. See all posts by Brian Kitson