Bunnicula | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Bunnicula, Lifeline Theatre. One doesn't usually consider rabbits threatening (anyone remember the ill-starred horror film Night of the Lepus?). Of course, in Bunnicula the Monroe family discovered the latest addition to their household at a movie theater where a Dracula film was playing. And soon thereafter all the vegetables in the refrigerator were mysteriously drained of their juice. But could the enigmatic new pet really be a vampire? It's up to Harold the dog and Chester the cat to get to the bottom of this puzzle.

Even after we realize that Harold and Chester's suspicion of the helpless intruder parallels that of elder siblings toward a new baby, Bunnicula's premise remains flimsy. But Douglas Wood's original music (which includes a Swingle Singers-style a cappella rendition of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor) and James Sie's adaptation of Deborah and James Howe's book skirt the authors' propensity for gratuitous puns (in one scene, Chester attempts to destroy poor Bunnicula by driving a sirloin cutlet through its heart). Director Shole Milos and his five cast members keep the pace brisk and the characterizations distinct. And Lynda White's puppets give the somewhat wordy text some visual interest, all under the amiable guidance of James E. Grote's canine narrator.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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