The Carolina Ballet production of Dracula with The Masque of the Red Death at the Progress Energy Center is an excellent way to spend a chilly, fall evening. Both segments offer spooky, off the wall fun that viewers wouldn’t expect to find at a ballet. The brief Masque of the Red Death, skillfully directed by Robert Weiss, transports viewers to a decadent masquerade full of colorful costumes designed by David Heuvel. In sharp juxtaposition to the festive theme are rigid dances and a frightening figure that represents death itself. Effectively danced by Gabor Kapin, Death is easily the most memorable performance of the evening. The prince (Timour Bourtasekov) and duchess (Melissa Podcasy) also turn out high energy performances as the music and choreography blend to create a perfectly eerie atmosphere.
The longer Dracula segment is equally enjoyable, making it difficult to choose a favorite. Lynne Taylor-Corbett picks out some of the most important and some of the most underplayed scenes from the classic and brings them to their full terrifying life. Magical disappearances and a creepy set add to the fun, and the audience is treated to learning more about Lucy, portrayed effectively by the lovely Lilyan Vigo Ellis, and strong-willed Mina (Margaret Severin-Hansen) than Bram Stoker ever penned. Marcelo Martinez’s Dracula is surprisingly sexy, and Alan Campbell’s Dr. Seward keeps the action moving forward, allowing viewers to easily understand time and place in a non-linear story.
What is most impressive in these two stories, however, is how versatile they are. Audience members who simply want to be treated to season-appropriate thrills and chills get their wish, but there are also deeper meanings to explore as well. This is a performance that everyone can and will enjoy.
The ballet will run through Halloween night. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.CarolinaBallet.com.