Playbill Pick: Buffy Revamped at Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Playbill

Playbill Goes Fringe Playbill Pick: Buffy Revamped at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This solo show recaps all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—from the vantage of Spike.

Brendan Murphy in Buffy Revamped

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, with nearly 3,500 shows. This year, Playbill is in Edinburgh for the entire month in August for the festival and we’re taking you with us. Follow along as we cover every single aspect of the Fringe, aka our real-life Brigadoon!

As part of our Edinburgh Fringe coverage, Playbill is seeing a whole lotta shows—and we're sharing which ones you absolutely must see if you're only at the Fringe for a short amount of time. Consider these Playbill Picks a friendly, opinionated guide as you try to choose a show at the festival.

Let me be clear. I’m a Buffy fan. Not only have I seen the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, I watched it weekly as it was broadcast on network television. Like, before streaming. One week, my friend and I were out of town and the hotel we were at didn’t have The WB (where the series aired for the first five seasons). So we drove to the nearest mall and stood in a Radio Shack and watched the episode. Hey, it was the late '90s. There were still Radio Shacks…there were still malls. (And the RS guys were totally cool with us standing in the television section for an hour. Nerds recognize nerds.)

So, when I saw the title Buffy Revamped as a Fringe offering, I couldn’t slap down my £16.00 fast enough.

The creation of London-based actor and writer Brendon Murphy, the 70-minute solo show recaps all seven seasons of the series from the vantage of Spike. Murphy takes on the series’ bleach blonde bad boy vamp, interacting directly with the audience as he energetically races through all 144 episodes of the cult favorite.

This really is a show for fans. I imagine anyone unfamiliar with the series would not get much out of the production. But, as a show for fans, it is sure is a fun ride.

Murphy’s Spike begins Buffy Revamped by making fun of the fact that it doesn’t even warrant an actual theatre—it's playing at Pleasance EICC in a conference center room. He then does a quick rundown of all the main players, stepping into a few wigs and costume pieces as he impersonates Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles (honestly, I’d watch his one-man Giles show, too). Angel (Buffy’s vampy love interest for the first three seasons) appears only as a leather coat on a hanger that Murphy occasionally animates with one arm through a sleeve. It’s a funny gag, accentuated by Spike’s derision for Angel. The show really leans into the Spike-Angel rivalry; at one point, it has the audience chanting “Angel sucks! Spike rules!”—a mantra that is even repeated on a coffee cup at the show’s merch table. (Yes! There was show merch! The only ones I came across at Fringe, actually.)

Spike also pokes a little fun at many of the series’ silliest plot devices. Sunnydale is built on a Hellmouth? Why would anyone live there? (There was a Midsomer joke here that got a lot of laughs from the U.K. crowd.) Why is there a nightclub in town whose entire business model relies on teenagers? An annoying little sister Dawn just appears out of nowhere in the fifth season? That time that Buffy’s mom Joyce decides to hang a Nigerian death mask on the wall…in a town where monsters, demons, and undead just casually hang out? And Riley?! Ew.

Murphy really gets through the whole series, aided sometimes by slides, and sometimes in song, which was a fun surprise. What's special, though, is how he taps into what Buffy audiences always loved about Spike. Sure, there's the bad-vamp camp of it all, and he's always ready with a quip. But Spike is more than that. He's a capital-C Champion. And he's the perfect choice to champion the series for fans. 

The performance I attended had about 150 in attendance. It was like we were our own little BuffyCon, everyone laughing and celebrating this thing that we love together. (Nerds recognize nerds.) I had a smile on my face the entire time. Buffy Revamped is basically one, long inside joke. And if you get the joke, you’re going to have a great time.

Buffy Revamped runs at Pleasance EICC through August 27. Several U.K. tour dates have been announced for fall. Click here for more. 

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