The Vladmir Dracula Comedy Showcase & Variety Hour | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Vladmir Dracula Comedy Showcase & Variety Hour


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The Vladmir Dracula Comedy Showcase & Variety Hour, WNEP Theater. Ron Kuzava reprises his role as the ageless Count Dracula from last year's WNEP Halloween show, Renfield. But this time around he's out to capture America's succulent hearts as the host of his very own variety show. The gag here is that Dracula's far too petulant and humorless for prime time--whenever he grows weary of his guests' vapid banter, he starts feasting on them. When director Don Hall pushes that joke to its logical breaking point in this hour-long affair, the result is a somewhat schizophrenic approximation of the youth-oriented variety shows that flooded network television in the 60s and 70s.

Hall and company set a brisk pace by killing off the guests before we can tire of them. So we get just enough of Dave Goss as Johnny Cash, Merrie Greenfield as Eva Gabor, and Amanda Cohen as JoAnne Worley. A little more R & D might've helped further the illusion that it's 1975: the disco anthem Dracula chokes out at the end hadn't even been recorded then. And WNEP missed a prime opportunity to skewer its obnoxious sources by not employing a laugh track. Still, the fierce one-upmanship between Dracula and his toady Renfield (Noah Ginex, channeling Peter Lorre) is hilarious--and that alone tips the scale from "trick" to "treat."

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