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Monday, March 10, 2014

A Review of the First Half of Buffy: A Parody Play

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM

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Don't worry, they didn't touch your precious television show—Buffy: A Parody Play takes aim at the 1992 movie, a flop that was rebooted for TV five years later. This is the second scripted show produced by the Funhouse Lounge, after a Golden Girls Christmas show that similarly riffed on an existing franchise.

I'd never been to the Funhouse Lounge before, because—based on the name and the carnival-esque exterior—I assumed it was a spiritual sibling to the short-lived Weird Bar, that horrible "wacky" bar that briefly took over the E-Room's old space. (Remember? Ew.) It wasn't really like that, though. Yes, there's a room full of pictures of clowns, but otherwise it's a nice little venue, great for live comedy; I've been hearing good things about the monthly Midnight Mass standup show.

It'll probably help traditional theater fans settle into their seats more comfortably if they think of Buffy as "bar entertainment"—there's a Rocky Horror vibe to the show, heavy on camp, audience participation, clever props, and goofy sight gags. The movie's script has been heavily rewritten to include plenty of references to other teen and vampire movies; "This is not a cheerocracy" landed with a thunk, but a Twilight gag went over like gangbusters. I last saw the movie at a slumber party when I was 11, so I have no idea how closely the plot dovetails; the play follows bitchy teenaged cheerleader Buffy as she learns she's a vampire slayer and confronts the vampire menace ravaging her town. Yes, there is a training montage.

Scene transitions take too long, and a good third of the cast needs to figure out how to project—a certain slapdash quality just adds to the appeal of shows like this, but you can't compromise on pacing and basic audibility. And make sure you're in the mood for goofiness, ideally primed with a drink or three. I wasn't in the mood, on Friday, through absolutely no fault of the production—it was Alaska Airlines' fault, actually, and the previous day's nightmarish funeral travel—so I left at intermission to go drink alone in a corner. Based on what I saw, though, Buffy embraces its own constraints; it's a cheerfully low-budget, low-fi production that knows how silly it is. The show runs Thurs-Sat at 7 pm; tickets are $18, which is about $6 too expensive for this show; it's $16ish if you get 'em in advance,or $10 on Thursdays. Details here.

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