By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Fantasia Film Festival 2021
Available to Scream, er Stream On Demand
Tickets can be purchased here
Not everyone will have visited West End in London to see Alien on Stage when it first premiered. This theatrical take of the movie by Ridley Scott is not meant to be a high budget performance, but a comedic Fringe Festival like to take. Their parody performance is one for the ages. The documentary makers Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer deserve a standing ovation for being involved in following the theatre troupe from its inception to its inaugural performance.
Half the crew are bus drivers from Dorset, England and the other are simply close family and friends with a varying range of acting ability. They are an amateur group of community theatre performers, and I was amazed at how they got their act together. This team did their research and props to them when considering they didn’t have too high of a budget! The stage uses curtains and lighting to alter where the crew of the USCSS Nostromo are throughout the ship.
The documentary filmed alongside production is an excellent look at the work that goes behind any theatrical production. This includes the issues the performers had with their director. When considering how beloved this intellectual property is, the team better get it right. We have a dutiful segment that shows how the sets and costumes were made. It’s terrific the Mitchells/Hayward family are fans of the films. Dave Mitchell is the director, and his stepson, Luc Hayward, wrote the play. They own multiple copies of the home video release, and Luc is a die-hard fan. Both have seen the film countless times. One huge detail I appreciated is that Dave is as demanding as Scott. In reality, he was part of the corps. His time there may well have made him a drill sergeant in real life.
The production has that wryness and style which defines many a British sci-fi productions. It’s unlikely the team will tour their show over the world. Thankfully, viewers get to see the best parts of the stage show! It’s a delight to watch. The rehearsals feel like BBC/DaveTV’s Red Dwarf in the raw (before going on set to perform). Some may say it can co-exist with another cult theatrical following, namely Evil Dead, the Musical given how the story unfolds and certain beats are the same.
As for what’s next, only time will tell if the troupe wants to adapt another intellectual property.
5 Screams out of 5