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“Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors” reviewed

Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors goes for the jocular. Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen’s silly, sexy spoof of Bram Stoker’s bloodcurdling novel replaces horror with humor, centering on a pumped-up, preening, pansexual vampire (a drop-dead gorgeous James Daly) who is suffering through an eternal-life crisis. When his milquetoast British lawyer (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) arrives in Transylvania with property deeds to sign and a fetching photo of his fiancée, Lucy (Jordan Boatman), the Count hears London calling.

Greenberg and Rosen throw everything at the castle wall to see what shticks: Puns, punch lines, pop-culture gags, malapropisms, slapstick and quick changes induce giggles (and occasional groans) as five crackerjack actors sink their comic teeth into the material. Under Greenberg’s spirited direction, most of them portray more than one character. Ellen Harvey is a hoot as Lucy’s pompous father and Dracula’s maniacal manservant, and Arnie Burton—who has flaunted his multi-character prowess for years in shows like The 39 Steps and The Government Inspector—makes a meal out of his roles as Lucy’s homely, horny sister and the no-nonsense, female, heavily German-accented Dr. Van Helsing.

Although it doesn’t always reach the delirious heights of Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep, with which it shares a bloodline, this fast-paced show is much funnier than, say, Mel Brooks’ sucky Dracula: Dead and Loving It. The design is as over-the-top as the tone, especially in Samantha Shoffner’s hilarious low-tech props and Tristan Raines’s to-die-for costumes, which are Victorian by way of Hot Topic. If you’ve been craving a break from the frights of real life, this campy, vampy romp is a scream.