The Hollywood Fringe Festival Review: SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE

Without a doubt, SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017's Fringe Festival. I chuckled, I chortled, and, after I got home, I cleaned blood splatter from my glasses. Director/designer Natasha Troop and Playwright/producer Marni Troop landed this triple-axle of horror, comedy, and romance with the finesse befitting a malevolent ice dancer. 

Twisting the "turn me" and "[insert female name] is mine" tropes of vampire franchises past, The Offending Shadows Theatre Company playfully inject similar social commentaries without kicking a dead horse. Yep, vampires are a metaphor in this play, but, in an effort to keep the ending under wraps, you will have to unpack that mystery on your own, folks. SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE is perfect for fans and foes of "True Blood", TWILIGHT, and UNDERWORLD ready to poke fun at some of their most pop-kitsch, teenage fantasies. 

The show was made incarnate by the persuasive chemistry of leads Carrie Bell-Hoerth and Christian T. Chan. Unmistakably, though, the show would not have been the same without its sitcom-ready supporting cast including, but not limited to, Emily Donn, Jesse Leighton, and Annie Rives. Hench(wo)man Jo, played by Marian Gonzalez (also of Los Angeles Lady Arm Wrestler Infamy), is my new fictional spirit animal. Never have I watched the consumption of Cracker Jacks with such bulbous tears of laughter glistening in my eyes. Eat your heart out, Amazon, the $499.99 "Raccoon Eating Cracker Jacks Taxidermy Statue" has just been blown out of the water... 'Cause Marian Gonzalez has timing, snark, and can rock lavender lipstick. Editor-in-Chief Shannon and I are ready to start making our very own handmade puffy-paint "Team Jo" t-shirts. 

Every single physical effect executed the genre-bending mission of SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE perfectly; even the unplanned felt staged for maximum fun. The show's eager splash zone participants (myself included) were generously doused with viscera, but I have absolutely no shame asking for more arterial spray in any reprisals of this laugh riot in sound and synchrony. A special shout-out goes to fight choreographer Tim O'Leary's hand in orchestrating the most graceful foot-to-face motion I have ever seen in the flesh. No doubt actor Christian T. Chan's natural flexibility and ambitious presence made it all the easier to bring those pneumatic Power Ranger moves to the stage. 

Are you craving to cut the seriousness of many other Fringe Festival productions with some solid satire? Nab your tickets for The Offending Shadows Theatre Company's SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE in the near to almost immediate future. 

Melinda Stang

For tickets to SO YOU WANT TO BE A VAMPIRE at the Hollywood Fringe Festival visit http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4487.