Alien on Stage: The Documentary is currently screening at Quebec’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
A mix of chance and curiosity led Londoners Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer to become fascinated by the Dorset amateur acting troupe “Paranoid Dramatics” and their advertisements for a production of Alien on Stage, adapting the famous 1979 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott.
The troupe, comprised mostly of professional bus drivers, put on an astonishingly ambitious show which floored Lucy and Danielle, who became the little-seen play’s most ardent raving fans, urging their friends to make the 2.5 hour trip to Dorset to take in the show.
After making some inquiries, they helped arrange for the show to play at the Leicester Square Theatre in London’s famous West End. Sensing that great things were about to happen, they also started to document the story — and as you may have guessed, they made this film.
Approximately the first half of the film sets up the story, interviewing the various cast and crew members and delving into the impressive scope of the production, incorporating elaborate set design, creature work and special effects. We spend time with the group as they work, rehearse, and experience the anxiety and excitement of having an unexpected London engagement.
The film’s latter half is an abridged showing of the highlights of the play itself, a funny and immensely amusing adaptation of the well-known movie, playing to an energetic audience that’s enjoying every minute.
Alien on Stage: The Documentary won’t hold any surprises for viewers, which is to say it’s exactly what you probably imagine it is: a very enjoyable feel-good story about a group of underdog artists who defied the odds and made something incredible worth viewing and celebrating.