FANTASIA FEST 2021: ‘Alien On Stage’ Proves To Be A Labor Of Love

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Alien on Stage

Alien On Stage is a documentary film directed by Danielle Kummer & Lucy Harvey and produced by Fool For Love Films & Definitive Film. The film centers on a group of bus drivers known as Paranoid Dramatics, who have decided to create a stage version of Ridley Scott’s Alien. The documentary covers all angles of the production, from creating costumes to rehearsals and even a live performance at London’s West End.

Fantasia Fest had previously debuted the documentary Memory: The Origins of Alien in 2019, which took a deep look into the construction of the infamous “Chestburster” scene in Scott’s film. This documentary highlights how the film played a large role in the crew’s life: Luc, who pens the script for the stage version of Alien, says he watched it when he was younger, and it impacted him to the point where he immediately joined up with Paranoid Dramatics when asked. Good films can inspire others to create:  In a similar vein as Charli XCX collaborating with her fans to craft an album in Alone Together, the members of Paranoid Dramatics do their best to translate Scott’s terrifying vision to the stage using their knowledge of the film and their myriad talents.

My favorite part of the documentary had to be the interview with prop maker Pete, who has crafted a Xenomorph costume from scratch. Pete takes the filmmakers and the audience through his creative process, showing how he used foam and piping to make the Xenomorph’s mouth and tail move; he also uses a similar process to create the Facehuggers and shape the Chestburster scene. Pete speaks in a measured tone, but the audience will be able to sense the passion behind his eyes, and I think it’s beautiful. When your love for a movie leads you to craft a full costume for a stage adaptation, that’s truly taking your fandom to another level.

Pete’s confidence in crafting the costumes is offset by director Dave, a former military man who seems uncomfortable in the spotlight and slowly learns how to wrangle his cast together. It starts off rather poorly: his wife Lydia, who ends up playing Ripley, has issues memorizing her lines, and the rest of the cast treats it like a high school play. A tepid turnout doesn’t help matters either. But after word of mouth spreads, the play takes off, and soon the Paranoid Dramatics head to a bigger stage in the form of the Leicester Square Theatre. This is where the film really takes off; the actors seem to be more at ease with the material and even give their own flair to iconic scenes, including Ripley telling her crewmates to stay quarantined. The thunderous applause they receive at the end will warm even the hardest of hearts.

Alien on Stage is a great example of how fans use their love of a film to craft their own narrative, offering a humorous and very heartfelt journey along the way. I definitely recommend checking this out if you are a fan of the Alien series, and with Aliens celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Alien on Stage is playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2021.


Alien on Stage
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Alien on Stage is a great example of how fans use their love of a film to craft their own narrative, offering a humorous and very heartfelt journey along the way. I definitely recommend checking this out if you are a fan of the Alien series, and with Aliens celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.