The right idea, at the right time, can be magic. It happened in 1979 when Ridley Scott delivered the first true science fiction horror film. It also happened again in 2013, in Dorset, when a group of amatuer actors, and professional bus drivers decided to bring the film to the stage instead of their usual pantomime.
What happened on stage was a horrible flop, until it was noticed by two documentary film makers, who drew attention to it, and got the show a one night only performance in Leicester Square Theatre to a sold out audience.
And thus, the phenomenon that is Alien On Stage was born!
The documentary, which has its Canadian debut today via Toronto After Dark, takes us behind the curtain, and back stage to meet the cast and crew, join in the rehearsals, and relive the dream of performing in London’s West End.
Earnest, heartfelt, and simply joyous to behold, Alien On Stage, shows that the right audience, and the right material can be nothing short of gold. From the wobbly, homemade sets, to on the cheap costumes, and innovative work arounds to bring the menacing xenomorph, not to mention the facehugger and newborn to the stage.
It works out, but perhaps not in the way the performers originally intended. But its people who love the film, supporting a very unique interpretation of it, and recognising the effort that went in to making it, as well as noting that the performers aren’t actors by training, or ability.
The filmmakers don’t flinch from any of it, and Alien On Stage plays out like a sci-fi tinted version of Waiting For Guffman, as lines are forgotten (or not learned), smoke and drink breaks, not to mention gossip, are more important than rehearsals, and how the hell are they going to make any of the effects look believable?!
The love of a classic film, engaged audiences, and earnest performances lead to the creation of a cult phenomena, and one that would be welcomed and lauded here at Toronto After Dark.
If it comes down to only seeing one film at the festival. If schedules don’t permit you to enjoy everything that this fantastic film fest has to offer, see Alien On Stage. It’s joy on film, and will speak to the heart of anyone who has ever attended this festival, been in a stage production, or loves that classic film.
I got so much enjoyment out of this one, and to be in the audience for a performance of this show live, that would truly be something. For now, this doc is the next best thing, and makes for a perfect night in. So put on that Jerry Goldsmith score, come on out of hypersleep, and journey with a bunch of space truckers to LV-426 for Alien On Stage.
Check this one out, and get your tickets for it and others at Toronto After Dark films here. Watch out for facehuggers, cause the xenomorph and I will be looking for you at Toronto… After Dark!