Alien on Stage – Fantasia 2021


Alien on Stage – Fantasia 2021

A very amateur dramatics group of Dorset Bus Drivers spent a year creating a serious stage adaptation of the sci-fi, horror film, Alien. With wobbly sets, awkward acting and special effects requiring more luck than judgement.

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A group of bus drivers from Wimborne, Dorset in the UK put on an amateur stage production of Ridley Scott's Alien in . Paranoid Dramatics is an amateur theatre group consisting of Dorset Bus Drivers. In a departure from the group's usual family pantomimes, scriptwriter Luc decides to write an adaptation of the film Alien, spurred on his fandom of the film. Directed by Luc's stepdad Dave and starring his mother Lydia as Ripley, the theatre group works hard on the play, complete with homemade costumes and props. After a lackluster opening in Dorset, the group receives a chance of a lifetime when they receive an offer to do a crowdfunded performance in London's West End.

Alien on Stage is a documentary by filmmakers Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey, who were among the meager 20 people in the crowd for the play's original performance at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne, Dorset. The end result was not only this documentary but a crowdfunding campaign to stage this adaptation of Alien for one night only at the Leicester Square Theatre in London's West End Theatre District. The documentary follows these bus drivers, turned actors as they prepare for the biggest performance of their lives.

Alien on Stage is a feel-good story about how these groups of Dorset Bus Driver managed to bring their little community theatre production of Alien to the masses. Much of the second half of this documentary consists of highlights from the London performance and it's quite impressive how well the DIY props and effects come across. If you are a fan of other films turned into theatre productions, Evil Dead: The Musical comes to mind, then Alien on Stage is a documentary worth checking out.

Alien on Stage is streaming as part of the virtual 2021 Fantasia Film Festival

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.