Reviewed by Improv Specialist, Conor Mullen
You Should Be Coming To This!
A one-act musical written, composed, directed, and starring a group of excited recent graduates (or current college students) at The People’s Improv Theatre (best known for their improv, sketch, and stand up) is the definition of a Hit or Miss show. There’s no way this show is gonna be only “okay”. It’s either going to have me laughing and cheering or mentally identifying all possible exits so I can get out (and to the bar) as soon as possible.
Fortunately this is not all random hyperbole, this is relevant information to this review. Aliens Coming is A one-act musical written, composed, directed, and starring a group of excited recent graduates at The People’s Improv Theatre. It’s a story about art school kids being visited by aliens with some not-so-romantic reproductive plans for the human race. Along the way there will be songs, alien/human romance, and a plot to take over earth via the internet, one view at a time. So, is this sci-rom-fi-com an instant hit, or does it miss the mark completely?
I’ll say right now this might not be a play for everyone. If you’re the kind of person who can’t stand a set where you can see the seams of the flats then you might not like this show, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t factor how much fun the performers are having into the show then you might not like this show, and if you’re the kind of person who rolls their eyes when people talk about the cultural impact of you tube you might not like this show. Fortunately I’m not any of those people! I loved this show!
Joe Kelly (writer) definitely has talent. I won’t dive too deeply into the plot but his little story about leaving high school to become an artist resonates well and the juxtaposition between that plot and the one about aliens invading earth fits together very nicely. You can tell he has a sense of fun in his work here, and Rachel Deutsch (director) does a marvelous job bringing that out in the production. The way she uses the entire space has a sense of joy about it. It comes across not like “I guess we’ll do it this way” but moe like “oh wouldn’t it be fun if…” The same is true of the dancing and Christine Ferry (choreographer) creates some hilarious sequences and really captures the mood of each song.
This sense of fun extends to the acting too. Everyone is walking this fine line between “over the top” and “this is just how people are in high school” that is played for laughs throughout. It’s very well acted and everyone from the leads to the chorus gives it their all. Special mention must be made of the acting of Maia Scalia as Brandi Boudoir who really nails the sorority hopeful turned internet sensation in all her various forms as well as Andrew Ricci as Smib for his excellent and subtle physical comedy. But make no mistake, there’s no weak link in these eight actors. and everyone (even the four person chorus of art kids) brings it.
If you haven’t figured it out, I loved Aliens Coming. I think you will too. You certainly have to know what you’re in for. This is a funny show with a great premise created by a group of people looking to have a good time in front of you for an hour. If that sounds like fun to you, then like the aliens, this show might also get you to come!