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  • Stacey Ireson

Theatre Review | Buffy Revamped | Theatre Royal, Nottingham

It is a very rare occurrence for me to go to the theatre and not know what to expect, but if “Buffy Revamped” is anything to go by, I need to take more risks more often. “Buffy Revamped” is a 70-minute, one-act, one-man show which sets out to chronicle all seven series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (that’s 144 episodes!), as told from the perspective of Spike. (Or William the Bloody, if you want to use his formal title!)

From the moment I stepped into the theatre, I knew that I was in for a really good time. The music playing as the audience arrived was pure 90’s nostalgia and you could see so many people in the audience bopping their heads, tapping their feet and reliving their best youthful years.

The stage was open and pre-set as you entered the auditorium and the set was minimal but effective. There was an altar in the middle of the stage with shelving and storage littered around featuring a multitude of props, many of which would be used during the performance. Eagle eyed Buffy viewers might also notice some hidden Easter Eggs within the collection, including the cheerleading statue from “Witch” and the tribal voodoo zombie mask from “Dead Man’s Party”.

“Buffy Revamped” was written and performed by Brendan Murphy, a name that I had never heard until recently but will probably never forget. I was surprised to discover that he’d also done a similar production a few years ago called “Friend: The one with Gunther”, as Friends is also one of my favourite 90’s TV shows. Is this a spooky coincidence? Or is there a bizarre Venn diagram of Friends and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, and if so, shall we start a support group?

Having the show centre around Spike was a particularly brilliant idea. Spike is, after all, the greatest character in Buffy lore. (That’s not my opinion. That is a fact – ask anybody!)

Spike’s sardonic, irreverent humour really helped to provide a framework for the show and tied everything together. It also made for a lot of great comedic moments. After all, Spike was constantly frustrated and baffled that the Scooby Gang managed to outwit him at time and time again. so it was hilarious to see the events from the series from his unique perspective.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers away so I won’t divulge too many details of exactly how the story is told. What I will say is that I was really impressed with how Murphy managed to constantly create fresh and interesting ways of telling these stories. Every series of the show was presented in a different way so it never got boring or formulaic or repetitive. As an audience member, you absolutely never knew what was coming next and that was delightful.

The script itself is packed with puns and one liners and I honestly have no idea how Murphy manages to hold all of this in his head and rattle through the material with such apparent ease. It really was a masterclass in theatrical comedy.

What particularly impressed me, (aside from the fact that Murphy NEVER STOPS MOVING for even a moment) was the fact that this show went so far beyond being a parody retelling of a beloved TV series. It transcended that and became an homage to the 90s as a whole. There were so many pop culture and musical references, that you could blink and you probably would missed a few.

I mean, there was even a Clarissa Explains It All gag, which is a reference SO NICHE that I imagine it sailed over the heads of a good portion of the audience. For those of us caught it, it was absolutely brilliant.

Speaking of family, this is definitely an adult show. From the moment spike sets on stage, it is with swearing there were numerous redo. There are some very blue jokes, it gets very rude at some point, and there is an awful lot of swearing. So it’s definitely a show aimed at adults. Having said that, I would have absolutely no problem taking either my children to see this. Both of them have seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or most of it and I feel like it comes down to a parent, each individual parent whether and while some parents absolutely would not be comfortable with their children seeing this kind of material. Others like myself. I personally don’t think there’s anything that would harm them, or traumatise them or damage them and if anything, I think they will find it freaking hilarious.

“Buffy Revamped” is by far the funniest show that I have seen in a very long time. I laughed so hard that I cried and I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my side, but it was well worth it.

As a child of the 90’s, it was an absolute joy to be a part of the audience and have the opportunity to enjoy this gigantic nostalgia fest, while celebrating one of my favourite TV shows of all time. I loved it so much, that after coming home and raving about it to my husband, he suggested that we book tickets for another performance later on in the season.

So yes, I will very probably be going to see “Buffy Revamped” again, but this time I’m taking the whole family with me.

“Buffy Revamped” is on tour around the UK throughout 2023. You can find all the information on venues and dates on the official website.



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