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Hollywood Fringe 2016

Lamprey: Weekend Of Vengeance

Genre: Comedy, Theatre

Venue: Sacred Fools, Second Stage


Low Down

Cop-show parody earns its stripes.


Genre-parody is a staple of the Sacred Fools long-running late-night show Serial Killers where this play was born. Peter Fluet has refined his run of episodes into an hour long comedy that can more accurately mimic the structure of the shows that he is skewering.
Carrie Keranen plays Lynn Alvarodo, a manically hard-working cop whose partner has just been killed. She has a long-suffering husband (Pete Caslavka) and a father who is also her boss (Peter Fluet). The “Lamprey” of the title is the nickname that Lynn thinks she should be known by, a running gag that pays off.
Keranen is a whirlwind, completely fearless physically, she propels herself through a succession of TV length scenes; each twist in the satisfyingly-convoluted plot raising the stakes and making her question who her allies are. Fluet, a veteran improviser, is great as The Chief, his split-second switching between being Lynn’s bullying boss and her concerned father is a treat. He also doubles as James, a software developer with arthritis; it’s funny. Pete Caslavka is perfect as the decent husband who is nearing the end of his rope, hoping his wife can get her revenge in time for the family to enjoy their planned Disney cruise.
The pace doesn’t let up and the cast of ten must always be on-stage or changing as we are introduced to a myriad of minor characters and a plot involving cocaine deals, faked deaths, and cops gone rogue.
Every trope you expect is here but the play grows beyond parody and builds its own momentum. The laughs come thick and fast but are never at the expense of the rising tension. Stand-outs among the smaller parts were Dana DeRuyck as Alexis and Amanda Blake Davis as Graci. Fluet has ensured that every part is worth playing, giving each character a playable trait and every actor an opportunity to shine.
Director Victor Isaac (assisted by Scott Golden) keeps the action clear and fluid, the scene-changes often taking no time at all as chairs are deftly re-configured and Keranen hurls herself into the next scene without a breath.
Parody is very easy to do badly, but this highly skilled and disciplined ensemble show that you can make fun of a poor TV formula and still be a class act.
The good air-conditioning was also a welcome treat on this 100 degree day. So stay cool. I highly recommend this show.