The Dark Humor: What began as somewhat silly in the opening scenes got darker and darker as it went along in all the best and funniest ways. There is an undercurrent of both desperation and bitterness in the humor that is VERY, very funny here. And it makes everything that happens so…much…better. It’s very hard to walk a line of “we’re being funny, see us be funny?” and still have bite without falling too far one way or the other. This show’s done it—and that’s a great thing to accomplish.
The Acting: Everyone’s great here, so there’s nothing to fault in any way. But the stand outs are without question Lauren Van Kurin as out unexpected assassin and Eric Giancoli as her handler, boss, potential lover and potential rival. Their timing is top notch, their deliveries a requirement for the show to work and their likability a bonus for the show’s entire shtick to work. Plus, in lesser hands the dialogue they’re given might have come across as hokey, dumb or goofy. In their hands, it somehow manages to reach to poetic levels multiple times. That’s something to be very, very proud of.
The Script: Based on a Serial Killers show, the serialized nature of the script’s origins can still be sensed somewhat underneath the revised script, and that might slightly have limited some of the overall potential just a tad. But if so, we’re talking minute amounts, because this script winds up being an absolute joy to experience. As it works itself into greater and greater frenzies of antagonism, murder and even a love story, it keeps its characters clear and its goals intact. Is it great drama? Perhaps not. But it’s enormously fun to watch—and for this show, that is EXACTLY what I wanted to see.
The Staging: So. Many. Knife. Throws. And they were genius. So genius. The moment the first one happened, the show had me hooked. And they never got old—I expected them to, and you all managed to make sure they never did. That’s brilliantly done, folks. The fight choreography was also great, even as it was intentionally cheesy.
What I didn't like
The first couple of scenes were very slow for me. In fact, I started the performance wondering if the hype for this show had been exactly that—hype. Some of the early jokes didn’t land for me (for whatever reason), either. Now perhaps it was because this was the preview or some other reason. Because then the show suddenly seemed to click and it took off like a bat out of hell (just around the time of the first knife throw). And from then on, the show was great. But those first scenes were not, for me, great.
There were clearly some technical issues at the preview performance on June 5th. I don’t hold that against anyone (they certainly happen, especially with multiple shows), but it does interfere with enjoyment of the show.
My overall impression
There was a time when I went to Sacred Fools’ Serial Killers on a pretty constant basis. Part of what I loved about the idea was this ongoing cliff-hanger show narrative nature.
So when I heard that one of the winners from that ongoing scenario had be reworked into a full-length show and was going to be at Fringe, I was excited. A chance to see what one of these became when turned into a continuous play? Great idea…maybe.
Yep, great idea. My first instinct was absolutely correct!
All The Best Killers Are Librarians is a comedy about librarians. It’s a comedy about killers. It’s a comedy about paranoia and shadowy conspiracy organizations. It’s about kung fu. It’s about knives. It’s about what you will kill for. It’s about what you will die for. It’s about love. It’s about death. It’s about triplets. It’s about late fees.
It’s about all these things and more. And it’s very, very, very funny. Death everywhere and not a drop of stage blood. Love all over the stage and not a single sex scene. Acid used repeatedly and not a single burned costume.
What this group does is pair the idea of an action film and a dark comedy back to its very core ideas—to its most basic forms. Then gives you a story that combines all those most basic, most stripped down aspects in ways that you both COMPLETELY expect and CANNOT expect at all.
I spent most of the show expecting the main character to do X or say Y. And she’d do X while ALSO doing Q. Or say Y but then also say P, B, and J. And that’s a great way to make people laugh. You give them what they imagine. What they’re looking for…and then you give them a twist. Do it enough times and you have the audience right where you want them—and you can kill them over and over and over again.
This show is clearly very good at killing. And that’s what it’s going to keep doing at Fringe this year.