Blood Countess

Long before Bella and Edward, or Bill and Eric, there was Elizabeth Báthory. This 15th century Hungarian noblewoman has been labelled as the most prolific female murderer by the Guiness World Records.

Alleged to have killed more than 600 virgins in order to drink and bathe in their blood, Báthory has been compared Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for the fictional Count Dracula.

In Blood Countess, Sharon Nowlan attempts to reveal the truth about Báthory. By the end of her 60 minute piece though, we are no better ahead in distinguishing rumour and fact.

The atmosphere first used to set the stage is ultimately just smoke and mirrors, with a rather bland historical essay about an intriguing historical figure.

Feeling entirely out-of-place, Nowlan also offers up a few odd commercials for Báthory Blood Wine between scenes.

I was initially mesmerized by the final moments as Nowlan took her Countess into madness with a performance of poi. But it was all too little, too late, and like the preceding 55 minutes it went on far too long.

1 Star Out of 5

Blood Countess continues at the Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island) until September 16 as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.