You don’t must have been to Transylvania to know that one method to kill vampires is with a stake by means of the center. In “Dracula, a Comedy of Terrors,” a gender-bending play at New World Phases, Dr. Van Helsing requires a “shtick” to slay her biggest foe. Or at the least that’s what “stake” seems like after it’s been mauled by Arnie Burton’s German-accented, feminine Van Helsing.
That Van Helsing deploys (a) shtick to slay her opponent sums up the mode of this “Dracula,” which really goals to be humorous. It’s a refreshing change from all of the stage bloodsuckers which have unintentionally made us snigger over the a long time, whether or not they tried to sing (“Dance of the Vampires,” “Lestat”) or not (low cost props and woeful ponytails made an Off Broadway “Dracula” from 2011 probably the most hilariously inept spectacles I’ve ever been fortunate sufficient to catch at a supposedly skilled theater).
Even higher is that this manufacturing — not fairly sufficient, however typically — fulfills its mission.
The play, by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen and directed by Greenberg, had a starry audio version in 2020, processing the well-known gallery of characters by means of influences like “The Rocky Horror Present” and “Younger Frankenstein.” Dracula (James Daly) is now a Frank-N-Furter-like equal-opportunity seducer whose manly chest is encased in what seems like a black see-through doily. (Tristan Raines did the costume design.) Naturally, the vampire proceeds to assist the meek actual property dealer Jonathan Harker (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) and his fiancée, Lucy (Jordan Boatman), shake off their Victorian hangups — sturdy Brad and Janet vibes there.
As if this setup weren’t sufficient indication that the play pays no thoughts to the “terrors” a part of its title, Greenberg’s staging consistently attracts consideration to farcical, fourth-wall-breaking units. The sound designer, Victoria Deiorio, for instance, known as upon to deploy results shamelessly (clip-clopping horses by no means get previous), and apart from Daly, who shticks to Dracula, the opposite forged members consistently swap roles, whatever the character’s gender.
Essentially the most adept at this train is Burton, an knowledgeable ham who portrays each Van Helsing and Lucy’s sex-starved sister, Mina (“I obtained all of the recessive genes”), as if that they had escaped from a Ridiculous Theatrical Firm manufacturing. A detailed second is Ellen Harvey as Dracula’s little helper, Renfield, and the siblings’ father, Dr. Wallace Westfeldt. On the efficiency I attended, Harvey landed the only greatest snigger when she shifted from one character to a different in a single scream.
For the present to essentially work, it wants extra moments like that one: easy, goofy and quick. That final high quality is essential in farce, however sadly, on this case, the second half of the night drags a bit. Some scenes even decelerate sufficient to counsel … feelings? On this context, that’s similar to garlic to a vampire.
Dracula, a Comedy of Terrors
Via Jan. 7 at New World Phases, Manhattan; draculacomedy.com. Working time: 1 hour half-hour.