See the full writeup at http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=11618
I’ve known many a librarian in my life. One of my dearest friends (Z”L) was a librarian, and she had an inner something that made you not want to cross her… or you would pay the price. I’ve got corporate librarians on my van; again, don’t let their exteriors fool you about their toughness. I even know librarians that can dance people until they drop. So, when I saw a show in the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) catalog that was described as “In this action-packed comedy, a shy librarian is recruited into the thrilling world of professional assassinations, international intrigue, and forbidden romance”, well, I was sold. That show was All The Best Killers are Librarians (FB, TW), and it was the second show we saw last Sunday.
Before I go into the show itself, I’ll note that this show was the winner of Season Ten of “Serial Killers” at Sacred Fools Theater. Serial Killers (FB) is a Sacred Fools (FB) late night production where each week, three continuing stories face off against two new tales. At the end of the show, the audience votes for the three stories that will continue on to the next Saturday night, where their subsequent episodes will then be pitted against two completely new storylines. The season culminates in a head-to-head battle royale between the sixteen top serials, including the eight longest-running serials plus audience-choice selections!
All The Best Killers are Librarians (written by Bob DeRosa (FB)) tells the story of Margo, a shy librarian, content to hide out at the research assistance desk in the back of her library. But then she meets Lancaster, a man who hires and trains the best assassins in the world. Lancaster is convinced she is a natural born killer, and he proves this by sending in three trained assassins to kill her. She dispatches them quickly, for she has the gift to instinctively kill when her life is threatened. Lancaster then recruits Margo into his action-packed world of professional assassinations, international intrigue, and forbidden romance. There’s only one problem: Margo doesn’t really like to kill, and she has started to fall in love with the cleaning man. You know, the cleaning man. The man who disposes of the bodies. Before the show is done, Margo’s hands will be stained with blood and she will know the truth: all the best killers are librarians!
The acting ensemble, who I’m presuming are drawn from the Serial Killers regulars, are aptly directed by Alicia Conway Rock (FB), who keeps the pace brisk and the action non-stop. She takes advantage of blackouts and sound effects to have stage violence that isn’t too violent, focusing instead on the fun of the story. I think this is one part of why this show is so successful.
Another part of the show’s success is the acting ensemble itself, led by Lauren Van Kurin (FB) as Margo, the librarian. Van Kurin’s Margo is sexy, smart, and damn good with a throwing knife. She’s playing this show for fun, and it is clear she enjoys this very physical role. That enjoyment comes across to the audience, who is rapidly drawn into to her dilemma and adventure. She’s just a hoot to watch, and I truly could not take my eyes off of her.
Paired with her as her recruiter and mentor is Eric Giancoli (FB) as Lancaster. Giancoli’s Lancaster is the classic handsome strong silent type, who gives the great impression that there’s something more there that (say it slow) he (pause) is (pause) not (pause) telling. Nice deep voice, very well played.
Margo’s love interest, Henry, is portrayed by Pete Caslavka. Caslavka seems to be having fun with the role, although I think he missed a spot up to the right :-).
Rounding out the performing ensemble were Jennifer C. DeRosa (FB) as Eleanor, Carrie Keranen (FB) as Crane / Mrs. White, Mike Mahaffey (FB) as Belinda / Numerous Killers, and Monica Greene (FB) as Sally / Numerous Killers. All of them were great and it is hard to single out specific supporting roles (especially as the two sacrificial killees are killed so many many times). DeRosa was fun to watch as Eleanor, Margo’s supervisor. In general, the amount of physical work that these cast members go through must be exhausting!
That leads us to the production and creative credits, and at the top of the list must be Mike Mahaffey (FB)’s fight choreography. Knives were popping out everywhere, and I just couldn’t see how it was done; there were loads of physical fighting moves and punches, and yet no one got hurt. Remarkable choreography, especially when you realize that Mahaffey was there in the middle of it. Also noticeable was Ben Rock (FB)’s sound design — a significant part of what made this production work were the sound effects, perfectly selected and timed. Matthew Richter (FB)’s was very effective (especially considering that one cannot always get the lighting one wants or needs at a Fringe venue), making maximum use of blackouts to create the illusion of extra violence. Rounding out the production credits: Jennifer C. DeRosa (FB) — Producer; Rachel Manheimer (FB) — Stage Manager; Blake Gardner (FB) — Photographer.
There are four remaining performances of All the Best Killers are Librarians (although some may already be sold out, including this Friday): Friday 6/10 at 8:30 pm; Wednesday 6/15 at 10:30pm; Saturday 6/18 at 4:00 pm; and Saturday 6/25 at 3:30 pm. I’ve been telling all my librarian friends about this. You can learn about the show and get tickets at http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3510. You’ll enjoy this show quite a bit.
I should note that the Serial Killers team that is behind this show is also behind two other Fringe shows: Lamprey: Weekend of Violence and Serial Killers at the Fringe. We already have tickets to the former; and don’t have room in our schedule for the latter. You might, and you should probably go to those as well.
What I didn't like
It all worked well, although one needs to be careful exiting due to an incline that one can easily trip over.
My overall impression
Just spectacular. Full writeup at http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=11618