Once More With Feeling

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photo by emily jewer

In 2001 Joss Whedon’s iconic television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer featured a musical episode entitled “Once More With Feeling” and this year Saint’s Alive Theatre brings the stage version to the Atlantic Fringe Festival, much to the exorbitant delight of the show’s dedicated and impassioned fans.

Since it began as an episode of a television series the stage version works best if the audience goes in knowing a little bit of context, especially concerning the characters’ relationships with one another and the fact that Buffy, a young vampire slayer, has recently died and has been brought back to life and is having difficulty adjusting back to what was once the life and responsibilities expected of her.

Joss Whedon’s music is catchy and deftly constructed; a nice mixture of musical theatre and pop music. The choreography by Lauren Amyotte is beautifully configured and proficiently executed, especially by the cast’s core chorus of dancers. The cast is inconsistent, especially vocally. Adam Krzyski and Chelsea Doherty capture nicely the essence of Nicholas Brendon’s Xander and Alyson Hannigan’s Willow. Jessica Barry’s rendition of “Under Your Spell” is nearly a carbon copy of Amber Benson’s and Savanna Darby’s singing voice is very strong. The stand-out performances, however, belong to Brandon Lorimer’s Spike and James MacLean’s Giles, who both really root the musical in Whedon’s Sunnydale in a vibrant and immediate way. There’s also some great costumes from Chelsea Kendall.

Once More With Feeling is not as polished as I would like to see from Saint’s Alive, as all the elements don’t quite come together in a cohesively solid production, but it is absolutely fun and sure to leave die hard Buffy fans squealing.

(Once More With Squealing?!!? … Sorry.)

TWISI Rating: 3 and a half stars

Once More With Feeling plays at the Neptune Scotiabank Studio Theatre (1593 Argyle Street) at the following times: 

Wednesday September 4 – 7:00pm
Thursday September 5 – 9:00pm
Friday September 6 – 9:00pm
Saturday September 7 – 3:30pm
Sunday September 9 – 7:00pm

Tickets are $10.00 and are available in advance online at this website or 30 minutes before each show at the venue on the day of the performance. I’d advise to buy in advance as this show has been selling out. All tickets bought in person must be purchased with either cash or credit. For more information please visit this website or call 902.422.7604 between 10:00am and 5:00pm. 

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