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The Indiana Repertory Theatre opened its 40th season with a fang… actually a few of them. The original vampire story is on stage now and gigantic pair of ominous wings set the stage for the perfect Halloween treat.

It would have been easy to make Dracula a caricature, with an overt-the-top accent and cheesy lines. Instead, Wade McCollum’s portrayal gives you chills. This isn't a child's version of Dracula, it’s the character as Bram Stoker originally imagined it; powerful, seductive and terrifying.

At first the show is playful as good friends Mina and Lucy discuss their suitors, but it takes a darker turn as we follow Mina’s fiancĂ© John Harker into Transylvania. There he encounters the Count, who lives alone and friendless in his dark castle.

Playwright Steven Dietz’s adaptation has perfect pacing. He shuffles the order of events from the original text, which reveals the monster at just the right moments. Other scenes overlap to keep the action moving. He also uses Dracula sparingly throughout the show, making his presence all the more frightening when he appears.

The cast, many new to the IRT stage, did a wonderful job. One that particularly stood out is that of the lunatic Renfield, played by Dieterich Gray. His performance is delightfully disturbing.

The set and costume designs provide audiences with lovely period pieces and cleverly designed props which allow for some unexpected scares. Lighting designer Christine Binder had her work cut out for her with flashes of lightning and eerie night scenes, but she’s more than up for the challenge.

For anyone who likes a good scare, it’s not going to get any better than this. Start your fall of right and check out Dracula. Up next at the IRT is the Going Solo festival. For the third year in a row, the theatre is offering three separate one-man shows, each unique and wonderful in its own way.

Don't Miss the Show

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "Dracula" runs until Saturday, Oct. 1 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at

Photos Courtesy of Julie Curry