We’re sat in the Loading Bar on Brighton beach with a table nicely stacked with thematically named gaming cocktails (Skyrum anyone?) and my eyes are constantly switching from the classic StreetFighter 2 arcade cab on the far wall and the blue sea and sky just outside of the doors… I’m still not sure which view appeals more.
This retro environment feels like the perfect pre-show spot for a show based around a cult 25-year-old TV series. At this juncture it is only fair to point out that this is one of those times when we specifically picked the show based purely on the poster (which has proven to be a hit and miss strategy in the past) but two thirds of our troupe are a sucker for all things Buffy so it was a risk we were willing to take.
The Walrus is classic traditional boozer with only the playful pub sign, featuring a smartly dressed pinniped ‘gent’ smoking a pipe, hinting that there may be more to this fringe establishment. We found the performance space up a small set of windy stairs at the back of the pub, with an eclectic selection of chairs fashioned into rows. We grabbed a couple of comfortable seats and settled in for the show.
Ben Lund-Conlon takes to the stage in full Rupert Giles cosplay (he actually looks a little more ‘Wesley Wyndam-Pryce’, but I don’t want to insult the man!) and quickly wins the crowd over with a few early laughs and a delivery style that is intentionally awkward-British, yet confident.
Despite being a work in progress this is one of the most enjoyable shows that we have seen at the Brighton Fringe – breaking down a 90s TV show for statistical analysis shouldn’t be this funny. There is a impassioned flow to the show that is fuelled by a real love for the source material – Lund-Conlon has gone through every episode of all seven series and created a meticulous spreadsheet detailing every death featured (or reported, or referenced, or implied – suffice to say, there a plenty). It’s an obsession that is given more poignance when he reveals his true motives for undertaking this mammoth project later in the show.
Ben Lund-Conlon is an instantly likeable performer with a delivery style that features some Mark Watson style traits. The statistics in the show are incredibly well used and cover everything from revealing the most ‘average’ death to a flow chart of how tea should be taken.
Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer will thoroughly enjoy this novel comedic take on the cult show but you certainly don’t have to have prior knowledge to enjoy the performance. As I mentioned at the start of this review, one of our troupe has never seen an episode of BTVS and laughed along just as hard as the rest of the room.
This show is heading to the Edinburgh Fringe later this year where we may even catch it again to see it in all of its final polished glory. So if you are looking for something to fill a timeslot then I highly recommend giving this a try. Five-by-Five.
Clown Stars: (-unrated-)
@Laughing Horse – The Walrus, Edinburgh
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