The Vampire! makes light of dark subject

Frothy melodrama at Centennial Showboat highlights skills of U of M students

While the University of Minnesota Showboat Players are known for frothy entertainment, this year's production may have a bit too much froth. The Vampire! is a slight, pre-Bram Stoker play that breezes by so fast it barely introduces itself before it comes to an end. There aren't a lot of twists along the way, just a battle between good and evil where the good (come on, it's a melodrama) wins out in the end. The cast of university students is more than game, but the material lets them down. Thankfully, that's not an issue with the between-scene olios. Directed by Vern Sutton, these musical interludes let the actors showcase both their singing and comic skills. They range from a piece that takes cues from the Scottish setting (and includes the dance sensation "The Edinboro Wiggle") to a jolly interpretation of an Arthur Sullivan song that centers on a church organ "voiced" by members of the cast. Returning guests will also be pleased to hear that "The Frankfurter," one of the showcases from last year, makes a return with giant hotdog costume intact. The young cast also brings plenty of enthusiasm to the proceedings. They're led by Ryan Colbert as the dastardly Ruthven and the giant singing hotdog — that's acting versatility.

 
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