The Librarians[author-post-rating] (4/5 Stars)

Minotaur Theatre Company from the University of East Anglia should be envy of every student theatre company at the Fringe: it has managed to make a virtue of being “studenty”. From the slightly slapdash feel to the wobbly set, its production of The Librarians is a joy. Full of inventive little touches and lots of puns, this is a very funny that’s show that’s well worth seeing.

Telling the story of a group of librarians who are slowly going mad in a forgotten library, Lewis Garvey’s script (devised with the cast) fairly sizzles. Packed with jokes for English students (guilty) and chock full of puns (some of which are cheesy as hell and some which are quite sophisticated) the story whizzes along with verve and flair.

The show starts strongly with a clever, percussive use of books as instruments, gradually turning into an amusing introductory song. This is just one of a whole slew of clever narrative devices which the company uses to tell us a good, old-fashioned story of goodies, baddies, monsters and heroes. The use of a narrator works very well, seeing as how we are in a library, and books and literature are a constant theme.

The characters are overdone and caricatured in a highly amusing way, especially evil Mandrake Hardbach (Harry Denniston) and Dusty Lovejacket (Ed Jones, who has something of the Lord Flashheart about him), and the ensemble work is nicely done. It’s genuinely clever in how it overcomes its clear lack of budget, and carries off its home-made aesthetic well. The monster, when it appears, is hilariously like something you might see on Blue Peter but the enthusiasm of the cast means that this just doesn’t matter.

There are moments that feels a little forced under Lewis Garvey’s direction, but in the main his witty script powers his show along, helped by a hardworking cast. The whole crew are clearly having great fun performing their ridiculous story, and it’s hugely enjoyable to watch.

The Librarians is at theSpace on North Bridge until 17 August. For more information and tickets visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.