This Christopher Guest-style comedy is an affectionate salute to the outsider kids who find community and shared passion in their love of the stage.
It stars Ben Platt and Molly Gordon as daffily over-serious instructors captured by an unseen documentary crew at a rundown theatre camp in upstate New York.
The lakeside community is in turmoil after its cash-strapped matriarch, Joan (Amy Sedaris), slips into a strobe-light-induced coma at a middle-school production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’; her blogger son Troy (YouTube star Jimmy Tatro), a caricature of a social-media hypeman and with zero knowledge of musical theatre, steps in to “en-troy-preneur” the place.
Much of ‘Theater Camp’ feels improvised and works because the jokes that land outweigh the ones that don’t. It certainly has a high gag-per-minute ratio, jumping from concept to concept, and prioritising the humour over all else. The songs have some of the silliest lyrics imaginable, but the kids in the cast (plus one surprise adult star) sing the hell out of them and, somehow, they’re almost catchy. It’s simultaneously a mess and inspired.
Our thanks to Disney/Fox for this screening.