The classic Dracula set in a steampunk universe, and just in time for Halloween, will be the first of three shows the Royal Canadian Theatre Company brings to Maple Ridge this season.
“Chills, thrills, laughter, music and disastrous tax evasion,” is how the company bills its upcoming series at the ACT Arts Centre, Maple Ridge.
Successes with shows such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and The Mousetrap have inspired the company to present a full, three-show series at the ACT.
It begins in October with Dracula – perfect for Halloween, followed by a holiday production of Puss in Boots, and rounding off the series next March will be Love, Sex and the I.R.S. to dissipate those tax season blues.
“I love to scare people, and I love to make people laugh,” said Ellie King, managing artistic director of the company.
At a time when other local theatre companies are tightening their belts and feeling the pinch of declining sales, RCTC saw a steady growth from 2014 to 2015, giving it the confidence to expand programming.
Offering subscriber tickets that give big reductions in cost to the public, and keeping prices as low as $10 (for groups 20-plus), King says RCTC is known for providing affordable, entertaining work at a high standard.
They work with both local talent and theatre artists from all over the Greater Vancouver region.
The earlier shows in Maple Ridge saw a number of new viewers to live theatre, and King says fun, accessible shows do that.
“I like to entice people into the theatre who might not otherwise attend,” she said.
Dracula is first up, running Oct. 27-31.
Using the 1929 script that was a massive Broadway hit and that made a star out of Bela Lugosi, multi-award-winning director King is giving this gothic classic thriller an update by setting it in a Steampunk universe.
In addition, she cast Count Dracula’s arch nemesis Professor Van Helsing as a strong, wise and mysterious woman, giving a whole new dimension to their conflict.
“The good professor is not up against any Twilight teen angst vampire here: this is a truly evil being and the outcome of the battle is never certain,” said King.
Elyse Maloway, who plays heroine Lucy Seward, is a Cloverdale resident and comes to Dracula straight from Theatre Under the Stars, as does Adam Olgui – another Surrey resident, who plays her fiancée, Jonathan Harker.
Jamie O’Neill – a Langley resident – is Butterworth the attendant, and the crazed servant of Dracula, the poor demented Renfield, is played by Aaron Stewart of North Delta, last seen as Sgt. Trotter in Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s production of The Mousetrap in March.
The evil Count himself is played by Kurtis Maguire from New Westminster and his antagonist, Professor Anna Van Helsing, by Kathryn Stewart.
Puss in Boots brings many of the company’s fan panto favourites back to the stage.
This time the hero must battle an ogre to win a castle and the hand of his princess.
“It’s definitely not just a kid’s show. There’s something in there fore everybody,” said King.
Love, Sex and the I.R.S. shows what can happen when you cheat on your tax returns.
Jon has been claiming his roommate and fellow musician Leslie as his wife, but now at tax inspector is on the way to meet the ‘little woman’.
• For tickets, call 604-476-2787 or see tickets.theactmapleridge.org. In person at 11944 Haney Place.
Tuesday, Oct. 27 – 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 28 – 8 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 29 – 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 30 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 31, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
• Puss in Boots
Thursday, Dec. 31 – 3 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 2 , 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday Jan. 3 – 3 p.m.
• Love, Sex and The I.R.S.
Thursday, March 10 – 8 p.m.
Friday, March 11 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 12 – 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.