As in all comedies, everything came out alright in the end in the 2016 Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club production of The Count Will Rise Again or Dracula in Dixie.
And to the delight of the Lions cast and club members, who put in months of hard work preparing the show, the biannual fund raiser, supported this year by matching funds from Scotiabank, will realize a profit of nearly $22,000, according to producer, Lion Barry Fawcett.
The ongoing generosity and support of the community for the Lions’ theatrical ventures, along with the $5,000 in matching funds from Scotiabank this year, ensures that the Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club will be able to continue to spearhead, or assist, in many, many projects and charities, all of which directly benefit the people of South Dundas. The Lions motto is “We Serve,” and the funds raised by the plays go back into this community.
During the April 21-23 run at Upper Canada Playhouse, enthusiastic audiences were treated to a production full of comic twists, scary characters, mad characters, hapless characters, and a spoof of the classic horror films of yesteryear. Judging from the roars of laughter that greeted each of the four shows, and the ovations, The Count Will Rise Again or Dracula in Dixie was a hit.
The thoroughly evil Count Dracula was ultimately done in by a Skippy peanut butter sandwich (or was it Chunky?). Fallen flowers Mina and Lucy were freed from nights of “eternal darkness” and long term residence in a really damp tomb.
Proof that a bag of dry roasted peanuts can be a fellow’s best friend when he is in mortal peril was demonstrated by Bobby Joe Harker, while Doc Stewart made it clear that fear can motivate a man to “get joggin’” in spite of a rather steady mint julep intake.
Southern lady Rose and Jarvis the butler were evidence that hilarious hysterics are possible even when one of you spends a lot of time passed out on the mansion couch.
Ably assisted by special guest Mr. Peanut, Colonel van Helsing ultimately won the day over evil: and also the heart of Sheriff Wanda Womper, once she figured out she wasn’t going to be the next Bride of Dracula.
(However, there is a rumour circulating among several members of the audience – and definitely among the cast – that Renfield the Lunatic may not always have been “acting” in this play. Just a rumour!)
Glenn Swerdfeger was the scary fanged Dracula, with Margaret Johnston and Reina DeJong as his Vamps, Lucy and Mina. Brian Speer (also club president) took on the role of ‘heroic’ lawyer Bobby Joe Harker and Jim Mustard was slightly alcoholic asylum keeper Doc Stewart.
Erica Scott was confused gentry Rose, while Bill Rumble portrayed Jarvis the ever faithful Butler. Rick Mackenzie played a grimly determined Colonel Beauregarde van Helsing, with Margaret Swerdfeger as an equally determined Sheriff Womper (although for very different reasons.) Barry Fawcett was the giggling Renfield (and also served as producer for this production).
Lion Dick Piché stayed calm (mostly) as The Count’s prompter. Stage crew Diane Fawcett and Jan Mustard kept the show going, quickly coping with any ‘glitches’.
The Count Will Rise Again was directed by Wendy Gibb, who started cast rehearsals in early January. This is the club’s 18th show, all of them directed by Gibb.
John Thompson designed and painted the scenery for the beautiful set, which was built by Lion Jim Locke and his crew.
Tristan Goethel, technical director at the Playhouse, handled lighting, sound effects, set and special effects with incredible patience and expertise. And Dwight and Helder of Aura Salon brought their exceptional skills to the make-up, wigs and hair of the cast.
Many Lions and spouses worked hard behind the scenes to bring this show to the stage.
And, without question, the 2016 Lions production would not have been possible without the outstanding support of Donnie Bowes and his staff at Upper Canada Playhouse.
The Iroquois-Matilda Lions Club production of Dennis Snee’s The Count Will Rise Again or Dracula in Dixie drew record crowds to Upper Canada Playhouse for its four performances, April 21-23, 2016.
Perhaps there’s another Lions play lurking just down the road in two years…
In the meantime, anyone for a little Gatorade?