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Theater review: Showtimers' Dracula bites Tombstone

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Julie Wheeler (from left), Gene Marrano and Kevin Perry in a scene from “Dracula Rides Again” at Showtimers.

October finds many seeking out a little ghoulish good fun, and Showtimers is no exception, with one weekend remaining for its current production, “Dracula Rides Again.”

Appropriately set in the wild west town of Tombstone, this is decidedly not your grandpa’s Western! Cue your favorite sound effects — jangling spurs, rattling rattlesnake rattles, the theme music from “Rawhide” — and get ready for one seriously offbeat show.

The man in black who rides into town is none other than Count Dracula. Summoned by the local saloon mistress, Della, he’s there to liberate the townspeople from the no-good Clanton Clan, who are under the influence of the evil Doc Frankenstein.

“’Dracula Rides Again’ bends all the rules that you think you know from these classic stories you’ve heard all your life,” writes director Betsy Quillen in her program notes. Boy, howdy.

The fact that author Jeff Goode is one of the founding members of the original No Shame Theatre and founding artistic director of No Shame Los Angeles should resonate with local audiences. Channeling its No Shame DNA, this is pure farce, full of quick-change vignettes, bawdy humor and corny jokes.

“What’ll it be?” the barkeep asks the Count in the opening scene.

“Bloody Mary.”

Ba dum bum! And there’s plenty more where that came from in this lively hour-and-a-half or so romp.

Dashing in his long black cape, Showtimers regular Gene Marrano plays the Count, with a subtle Transylvania accent and delightful comic timing, while Gabrielle Shelton does a suitably saucy turn as Della, and Rafe Telsch makes Doc Frankenstein as civilized as he is diabolical.

Among the townspeople, Bob Toven as the hapless Mayor and Teresa Killen as the Betty Boop-ish Marietta help to set the show’s mischievous tone. Making their own memorable contributions to the hijinks are Simon Adkins as Jesse Clanton (straight out of central casting in his serape); Kevin Perry, Julie Wheeler and Kayla Lees as the other Clantons; Deena Sasser as the Sheriff; Carolyn Watson as the barkeep; and Aiden Rea and Joshua Newman as townspeople.

In yet another oddball twist, a couple of bumbling mummies make even the set changes funny. One is played by Anthony Maranto. The other is played by Dylan Trail, who also portrays Frankenstein’s Monster in a brief but scene-stealing role.

Halloween is almost here, and this show just might get you in the spirit.

“There is value in the ridiculous,” Quillen’s notes continue, “and we can all use a little comfortable ridiculousness these days.”

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