DREAMGUN FILM READS: THE FRINGE BINGE
Smock Alley Theatre
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
You have to adore movies to be able to savage them quite as hilariously as Dreamgun. Rewriting blockbusters' scripts with the merciless attention of grad students and the restless energy of goofballs, the project is performed, unrehearsed, by a line-up of comedians and guest stars, in a white-knuckle version of the Mercury Theater live radio broadcasts. That gives it charms both throwback and current – the shows are later podcast – with consistently sharp, rapid-fire funny writing, crackling performances, and the sustaining thrill of possible copyright infringement.
The movies under review for this Fringe Binge change every performance, but the underlying joke is the same: these popcorn classics belong to us, and they are now as ripe for revision as folk tales. The opening show, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, sets the bar high, blending a faithful(ish) retread of the plot with dry attention to plot holes, glib conceits and marginalia on its complicated legacy. The more precious the film is to the audience's childhood, I suspect, the more lacerating the comedy. But for all that heckling, the joy is quite pure. Like their return to Hogwarts, past the gulf between innocence and experience, it's a way of prolonging the magic.
Runs until Sunday, September 16th