Dracula vs. Jekyll & Hyde opened at the Off Broadway Theatre on Sept. 30 to give fans of the parody theater a double dose of randomness for Halloween.
The play runs till Oct. 29
And when we say random, we really mean it. For starters, the play is introduced by Luigi (DRU) from Super Mario Brothers, who randomly shows up in scenes throughout the play—to sing and play his accordion.
So, it’s best not to even try to make sense of the plot, but we’re going to: Dr. Jekyll (Clarence Strohn) takes a formula that turns him into the destructive Mr. Hyde, and murders start occurring in London's street. Jekyll tries to hide his transformations, while romancing Mary Shelley (Heather Holmgren), the love of his life who’s hated by his mother, a witch from Salem (Clarissa Armstrong). Dracula (Eric Jensen) is also on the scene, and Scottish Inspector McHelsing (Bus Riley) suspects the vampire as the murderer. Dracula’s given another of Jekyll’s formulas that takes away vampire powers, but when the murders continue, he needs to “revamp” to help stop the real killer with the inspector and Bobby Brady (Mike Brown)—even if it’s Dr. Jekyll himself.
The show was written a while back by Jon Baty and Eric Jensen.
Baty also directs the play and filled in for Jensen as Dracula in the show we saw, so unfortunately we can't comment much on Jensen's performance, except to say he's hysterical in everything else we've seen him in.
Strohn is always funny in OBT shows and doesn’t let the audience down in this one. His transformations into Mr. Hyde are a sight to see.
Baty did the best he could as Dracula on short notice—even though his accent slowly changed over the course of the show. It started out Transylvanian, but eventually it was like watching Cheech as Dracula. The improv pros at Off Broadway picked up on the flaw and made fun of it. After that, Baty just kept the new accent for the character the rest of the show, which strangely worked out great.
Some of the funniest scenes are Dracula and Hyde’s fights, which consist of dancing around until one throws a punch. Another great part in the show is Hyde’s battle with an owl and Dracula getting drunk after he bites a couple of hobos with very high blood-alcohol level. Dracula’s Rocky-type training montage is also a must-see.
Love the music, too. They sample a tune from the classic Universal Dracula film. Heather Holmgren does a great job singing, and the entire cast gets together for four renditions of the main song in the play, Murder in the Streets, which changes slightly based on the story's progression each time.
Unfortunately, the crowd just doesn't respond to some of the jokes or references, like “porkchops and applesauce!” Click here if you didn’t pick up on it.
Overall: We rate this one somewhere in the middle of shows we’ve seen at the Off Broadway Theatre. It’s funny, random and a great to see with the family, but it’s just sort of hard to follow and while most are hysterical, some jokes and references don’t totally catch on. We saw the first show, and it should get funnier as it progresses, so see it if you have a free weekend. Don’t miss OBT’s other current show Forever Dead.