I’m going to assume you’ve seen Ridley Scott’s Alien, but have you seen Ridley Scott’s Alien reenacted by the bus drivers of Dorset? I hadn’t either but now, thanks to Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey’s incredibly charming documentary Alien On Stage, you can see the amateur dramatics group ambitious undertaking of what could either be the biggest community theatre flop of all time or one of the best live performances in London’s history!
Celebrating its World Premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, Alien On Stage follows the Dorset Bus Drivers’ heartwarming journey from a local community theatre to London’s West End. All the sets are handmade, all the effects are practical and executed live on-stage, all the lines have been (mostly) memorized, but the pressure is on! Until they had the
bizarre inspired idea to adapt a film on stage, the bus drivers were mostly known for putting on an annual Christmas Pantomime of common fairy tales and fables. And it’s maybe for that reason that the turnout for the first run of Alien On Stage was abysmal. Even in the modest community center space they had rented for the show, only a handful of people came out to see their crowning achievement. What the team could have never expected, however, was that two London-based filmmakers would fall head-over-heels in love with the show and call the group up to the big leagues.
These metro employees were just trying to exercise a little creativity in their everyday lives and, against all odds, they made something really special. No one has any formal training, but they all have an undeniable passion guiding them. When Kummer & Harvey catch up with the acting troupe, they are working non-stop in their off-time to get the show together. No one taught the prop maker how to create a fully articulated Xenomorph, but a few google searches and a few hundred hours of styrofoam sculpting later, he’s become a prop master! From top to bottom, these folks stretched themselves beyond their abilities and pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to create this brilliantly delightful adaptation.
I’ll be honest with you, reviewing documentaries isn’t one of my strong suits (and I generally try to avoid it all costs) but Alien On Stage is one of the most charming films I have ever seen. The subjects are adorable and watching them bring their vision to life on stage was a journey I’d happily take again. I don’t know how many documentaries you have in your regular rotation but I know I only have a few, and this one is officially in the mix. From now on, whenever I’m in a bad mood, or I’m struggling creatively, I’m making a cup of tea and sitting down with Alien On Stage. It’s the perfect pick-me-up, the quintessential reach-for-your-dreams reminder, and the ultimate document of outsider art.
“…the perfect pick-me-up, the quintessential reach-for-your-dreams reminder, and the ultimate document of outsider art.”
Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey’s Alien On Stage celebrated its World Premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival. Click HERE to follow our full coverage of the festival and be sure to let us know if you’re excited to check out charming documentary over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.