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June 4, 2016:

Bloody Beautiful reviewed by Rob Stevens

Hungarian royalty Erzsebet Bathory, known as the Blood Countess, is listed in the Guinness World Records as the most prolific female serial killer with over 650 victims to her credit. How dare they mention her in the same breath as Lizzie Borden whose victims numbered two family members. Virgins were Bathory’s specialty—she reportedly bathed in their blood to retain her youthful look. She was eventually put on trial but her family’s influence kept her alive, although she was bricked into her suite of rooms in Csejte Castle the final four years of her life. She has been the subject of many books and films, most notably Julie Delpy’s The Countess, over the years.

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UC Santa Barbara student and actress Erica Flor has created a short, one-woman show, Bloody Beautiful, that is being presented by the Proboscis Theatre Company in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The actress has become obsessed with The Countess during her extensive research and in turn The Countess has taken over Erica’s mind and body at times, attempting to bring her reign of terror to a new age. Flor was a student at UC Santa Barbara in 2014 when Elliot Rodger, a former student who once asked for her phone number, killed six people and injured another 14 before taking his own life. Flor’s examination into Bathory’s history questions the dark side in all of us. It’s a fascinating idea that needs some fine tuning. Flor is a fearless actress, rising nude from her tub of blood to begin the show and to take her curtain call. Under Jeff Mills’ direction, she brings the horror and excitement of Bathory’s villainy to life. However, the transitions from Erica to Erzsebet could be a bit more nuanced and Ersebet’s conversations with her servants and victims could use more demarcation.

3stars

The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. June 9, 12, 18 & 25. www.hollywoodfringe.org

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