- Terelle Jerricks
By John Farrell, Contributing Theater Reviewer
Sitting on a park bench should be an innocent occupation. Sitting there when there is a serial killer in your small Texas town may be a risk. But when Nancy (Karen Wray) sits there, it is more than just risky.
That Bill (Derek Long) is the Butcher — as the serial killer is known — is obvious; that he is a bit inept is also obvious. And that Nancy wants to meet him, to fill her own pointless life with the poetry he writes to his victims is the premise of Catching the Butcher, Panndora Productions’ first play in Long Beach, part of The People’s Theatrical Collaborative Series, and a very funny take on all the serial killer TV shows out there today.
Nancy wants to be kidnapped by the Butcher, as he is known, and she is indeed abducted by a man who almost puts himself out with a handkerchief soaked in chloroform before he puts it over his victim’s mouth and nose.
Nancy is aggressive: she knows what she wants, whether it is a restroom break after being tied up for 10 hours or a relationship with a serial killer. Bill is a competent killer (apparently) but otherwise not very social. They manage to get a relationship going, artificial and less than satisfying, perhaps, but still a relationship. That is, until Nancy wants to make her life more real by inviting the neighbors to dinner. When Jeanne (Rebecca Taylor) comes over for drinks their life together changes again and we aren’t telling why.
It’s funny, light-hearted in a grim way and you’ll enjoy yourself, especially if the lighting and technical problems of opening night are corrected. Playwright Ada, Seidel gives us a very skewed, very appealing look at a very different idea of life in small-town Texas. It couldn’t happen here (we hope).
Tickets are $20. Catching the Butcher plays at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 15 through 24, at the Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre.