Saturday 11 May 2024

The Librar(IAN) review

If anyone was going to become a librarian, it would be Ian. I mean, his name is in the word librarian after all. Written and performed by Lochie Laffin Vines, The Librar(IAN) is a sweet, light-hearted look at Vines' own experience of working in a library without being saccharine.

Vines does a wonderful job in conveying the importance that libraries play in the community, one of the rare places where money is not needed to enjoy your time there. From the close-knit family that is formed within staff to the regular visitors who are sometimes there just for a chat and a sense of belonging instead of looking to grab a book and leave. Vines is an engaging storyteller who brings the world of libraries to life through his affection for his characters, who are no doubt drawn from his five years as a librarian.

Ian has aspirations of being a host on Play School and despite having two auditions and getting very close, he has been unable to achieve his dream. Needless to say, he has a penchant for children's story-time at the library, and while it's initially entertaining, having the audience sing more than half a dozen nursery rhymes and songs and have a children's storybook read to them, is a little excessive and perhaps more time could be spent learning more about the people at the library, and fleshing out their stories.

Director Rob Lloyd makes good use of the space and allows the library world to come to life through some simple props, lighting and sound cues. It plays to Vines' strengths and humour as he appears completely natural and open with the audience the entire time. 

The Librar(IAN) brought back many memories of myself as a teenager who found sanctuary in a library and could disappear in its aisle for hours. It was a place to safely escape the world and plunge into adventure. For a first-time writer, Vines has crafted a warm page-turning show that asserts the purpose of a library as being a lot more than borrowing books, and how these places can end up holding a unique place in our hearts and minds.

The Librar(IAN) was performed at The Butterfly Club between 9 - 11 May.

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