Theatre review: The Librarians
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: The Librarians @ theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36), reviewed by Sue Wilson
Gleefully occupying the gothic/grotesque end of the black comedy spectrum, this new devised play by Lewis Garvey, produced by the University of East Anglia’s Minotaur Theatre, takes place in a long-closed library, among whose staff – after several decades without daylight or other human contact – the profession’s stereotypical foibles, as well as sundry other pathologies, have developed to extremes.
With the post of Chief Librarian up for grabs, we follow its most manically determined aspirant, Mandrake Hardbach (Harry Denniston), through an accelerating series of dastardly machinations to eliminate the competition.
Garvey’s densely-packed script, though delivered at times with more enthusiasm than precision, abounds in literary allusion, alliteration and comically stretched similes, contributing to the strongly individuated characterisation that fleshes out the show.
While the opening musical number, featuring clever percussive use of props, gets things going with a flourish, the later incorporation of puppetry is definitely still a work-in-progress, which, together with the tendency of the farcical elements to descend towards scrappiness, suggests that this young company’s considerable promise might be more fruitfully concentrated within a slightly narrower focus.
Until 17 August. Today 12:40pm
More info: The Librarians is at theSpace @ North Bridge
Originally published in The Scotsman