‘Theater Camp Review: Ben Platt And Friends Unveil New And Improved Riff On Their Much Funnier Short Film

‘Theater Camp Review: Ben Platt And Friends Unveil New And Improved Riff On Their Much Funnier Short Film

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Theater Camp is a theater training program for shy kids and incorrigible radio buffs, where participants receive intensive training in Broadway fatigues. It's a rare parody that keeps viewers laughing from start to finish. I'm talking about the 18-minute short film that Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman and Ben Platt uploaded to YouTube about a month after the pandemic, making it a cult hit among musical theater fans and survivors. field in New York State.

The basic version is almost the same, except for the laugh.

Sure, there might be plenty of laughs in the new Theatrical Camp, except now it's almost entirely contained in the last half hour of a rapidly aging film, with co-writers Gordon and Lieberman placing the same ominous ad. The premise of "Theatrical Camp," which Searchlight sold for seven figures at the Sundance Film Festival, is that it's fun to watch a bunch of kids get love auditions and totally inappropriate acting lessons from inept adults. A short would-be agent (Alan Kim, "Minari") works on the phone, hypnotizing his classmates. Another son (Donovan Cola) struggles to be equally forthright with both of his parents.

Back in 2008 (when the wacky indie was still a box office hit), Focus Features made $10 million for Hamlet 2 , a scripted film starring Steve Coogan as an actor who dies and becomes an actor. an ambitious high school drama teacher who writes not-so-Shakespearean sequels for her students. The fun has arrived! Fast forward 15 years and the concept seems outlandish ("Hamlet 2" wasn't even original back then, School of Rock and Razzle Dazzle). Now 18 minutes is about as long as a concept like this can withstand.

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Judging by the opening scene, where Adirion Acts camp founder Joan Rubinsky (Amy Sedaris) suffers a stroke during her high school production of Bye Bye Birdie, it seems like Theater Camp is trying too hard. Sedaris may be a comedy legend, but he disappeared from cinema far too soon. "After a long day of filming, the subject of our documentary is now in a coma," the statement said. Yes, "our documentary". It's 2023 and people are still creating fake documents. It's easy to see why the sloppily edited, convoluted format hides a tight script and tight budget.

For this to work, you need Christopher Guest-level improvisational talent, not a mix of precocious young actors and grown-up drama camp graduates spouting silly jokes about character motivations, professional frustration, and peril. Unit: In the main series, Platt and Gordon are introduced as co-dependent best friends Amos and Rebecca-Diane, who met during a failed Juilliard audition and have been creative love partners ever since. Jimmy Tatro, son of Joan Troy, a deaf social media athlete who is unfortunately not ready to rule the field in his absence; and Galvin as Glenn, an underrated jack of all trades waiting to shine.

The cast may be mostly kids, but the movie seems like it was made for their demographic. Gigi (Owen Thiel), a discreetly gay costume designer, seems to be watching too much RuPaul's Drag Race. A very demanding choreographer, Clive (Nathan Lee Graham), tells the boys. “You should know that only 3% of people succeed. The rest ended up in mental hospitals or Hell's Kitchen. The actors themselves aren't likable (after Dear Evan Hansen, Plath's neuroses were at the core of her character), but they stayed in a self-deprecating swashbuckling mode, as did Editor John's gruff style. James McAllister's haunting score enhances the sense of creative chaos.

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While Sedaris' character is in a coma, Troy is tasked with finding a way to raise enough money to get the bank to call off Adirion's laws, or worse, allow posh rival Camp Lakeside (played by Patti Harrison) to buy the property. Troy Airbnb was one of those who raised money and hired kids to host dinners at the local Rotary club, which the naïve group approached as an immersive theatrical experience. I almost laughed when the movie hit its first hour (well, that's when Luke Islam's America's Got Talent opening ended with his audition). For the most part, the audience is stuck following everyone trying to have fun; they try to make jokes, sing chords, laugh. Running jokes, tripping over their own shoelaces.

And then something extraordinary happened. All the while, we've been told that Amos and Rebecca-Diane have written an original musical, Yet Joan, about their beloved mentor (the title is a reference to Julianne Moore's 2014 Oscar-winning film). Rebecca-Diane is distracted for most of the film, and the night before the big show, it turns out she's booked a cruise gig that any Broadway actor would recognize as a last resort that's only slightly less depressing than teaching children and young adults. . theater However, after weeks of chaos, the moment of truth finally arrives…and "And Yet Joan" is simply brilliant.

I don't want to overdo the film's big ending, but the creative team put together some catchy and witty original songs about the fictional Joan Rubinsky, a self-made immigrant who left her successful Wall Street career to pursue life. . music inspires children to discover their dramatic potential. And it worked. Suddenly feeling like a whirlwind on the run, Theater Camp is in place. Anyone who has been to a gig or gig as a child (and who hasn't) will understand the sentiment as the whole company takes part in the event and produces something to be proud of. Was it worth the headache to live here? Maybe not, but at least he sent people home with a smile on his face.

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