By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Playing at The Roxy
aka Bluebridge Repertory Theatre
2657 Quadra Street
Sept 24-26 & Oct 2-4
Evening performances: 8:30pm
Saturday Matinees: 5:30pm
This year’s version of Starry Starry Skies‘ Once More, With Feeling; Buffie the Vampire Slayer is bigger and I’m sure the plans to even expand it further will take up the entire breadth of the stage. I’m fairly sure this musical will be a staple in the Victoria theatre scene like Atomic Vaudeville’s Rocky Horror Show (unless cancelled because of a certain pandemic). So far, this company is one of two shows at The Roxy offering something spooky for the Halloween season.
Instead of a female narrator demon, this year’s version is male, and there’s more gender swapping going on. One casting difference has another actor playing the role of Spike. Corin Bert Winglet really nailed that role for me with his charm from last year’s show. This time, he’s Sweet, the demon who magically compels his victims to break out into song and dance, and revealing something each character prefers to keep in the closet. But when all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, just who manipulates whom in this play is at the core of this musical.
To say what’s better from last year’s show isn’t fair. The play made its debut last year and the venue used is very different in layout. The production team chose the venue because it’s still one of the still operating theatres in town during the pandemic and it has the perfect vibe to put on this show. I describe the performance from last year as very intimate, and this year’s is expansive. The cast has grown some. There’s even a few changes, as some members wanted to play a different character. Plus, a proper stage is very much needed to give the dance choreography a proper chance to shine. And this year, there’re background dancers!
The only major kinks are with those people wanting to watch online instead of going to a live show. There were streaming hiccups. It’s fine during the commercial breaks, because it reminds me of those times (the 50s) where you had to play with the antenna to improve reception. Zence is watching this program and narrating the events as it goes on. As a result, instead of 90s nostalgia, I felt teleported to an era even far longer ago.
A bit of research into how best to use Zoom reveals it’s better not to use the app at all and “Join from your browser.” If you can’t find this option, this YouTube tutorial should help. Viewers will have to sign up for an account to find this feature. I should have done this instead. It may have helped fix the sound; compressed sound in a program developed for meetings and local chat than theatre is never as good as the real thing. But with Covid-19 still lingering around, my health is of concern.
I heard a very enthusiastic crowd though and sang along to my favourite numbers. “Rest in Peace” and “Walk Through the Fire” stood out as the best from this year’s show. But I’m sure nobody wants to hear my voice, so perhaps viewing from home is still a good thing.
4 Stars out of 5
|Buffy Summers||Autumn Antonsen|
|Willow Rosenberg||Rae Paxton|
|Tara Maclay||Andrea Eggenberger|
|Rupert Giles||Matt Ireland|
|“Xander” Harris||Travis Stanley|
|“Anya” Jenkins||Alexa D’Archangelo|
|Dawn Summers||Chantell Potter|
|Vampire Doug||Dorothy Eggenberger|
|Vampire Rick||James Johnson|
|Demon Bob||Erin Brant|
|Handsome Man||Rhune Hulin|
|Burning Person||Erin Brant|
|Vacuum Person||Rhune Hulin|
|Police Officer||Rhune Hulin|
|Nector Demons||Dorothy Eggenberger
James JohnsonErin Brant
|Fire Dancers||Rebecca Elliot
|Dancing Janitors||Erin Brant
|Street & Funeral People||Erin Brant