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A Bunny With Bite

A creepy, funny "Bunnicula" at Theatre IV.

Beyer and Harris anthropomorphize their characters fabulously, conversing as earnestly about fleas and bacon as Gothic novels and psychology. Both have robust voices that blend beautifully, particularly when harmonizing on the ballad "Only Friend." The Monroe family is like a 1950s stereotype on steroids, thanks largely to the over-the-top performances from Russell Rowland and Jill Bari Steinberg as Mr. and Mrs. Monroe. And Jen Meharg, who manipulates the ingenious Bunnicula puppet, imbues the bunny with subtle shades of attitude from meek to menacing.

Though playing at the cozy Barksdale Theatre (instead of the palatial Empire Theatre where Theatre IV stages its splashier productions), this show hasn't been downsized to match the smaller venue. "Bunnicula" doesn't skimp on talent or production values, and if anything, the intimate space helps put you right in the Monroe family living room, face to face with the glowing red eyes of the vampire bunny. This is the perfect show to get your youngster in the mood for Halloween. — David Timberline

Theatre IV's "Bunnicula" runs at the Barksdale Theatre at The Shops at Willow Lawn Thursdays to Sundays through Nov. 6. Tickets are $11-$12. Call 344-8040.

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