Camden Fringe 2017: Destination Planet Earth at the Cockpit Theatre
Excited suspicions are produced when the host at the Cockpit, an unassuming and modest theatre in Marylebone, directs visitors to sit away from the front of the stage, where a hoop can be seen dangling from the ceiling. As the house lights darken, tonight’s host Dave welcomes us to the film screenings – ironic, a performance within a performance. The acting is rather amateur, but not necessarily bad which further adds humour to the funny juxtaposition of film and circus performance. As Dave looks around asking if “someone can fix the popcorn machine”, it lends realism to the otherwise playful act.
B-Movies are Dave’s passion, in particular old sci-fi and horror films. His fervent chat about the influences on modern-day blockbusters is informative; we learn how films like The Mummy, Star Wars, and Godzilla were all inspired by these retro and vintage classics.
Our host’s night gets shaken – quite literally – as he gets electrocuted when setting up the projector. He’s propelled into an alternate universe, coming face-to-face with a female Frankenstein’s monster who, appearing to have leapt straight from his favourite film, nimbly climbs a rope, winding and unfurling majestically as German techno music by Bauhaus blasts.
Exasperated and feeling alone, Dave meets ALAN, a female alien part of the Alien Life Analysis Network. ALAN communicates with Dave as they traverse the eerie planet on the lookout for other extraterrestrials. The show creatively brings fiction alive, with Godzilla on stilts and, one high point of tonight, zombies who are sitting amongst the audience, creating genuine nervous laughter as they leap out. Another highlight is the spaceman in a kooky NASA spacesuit and the alien, he juggling light probes, she whisking by on roller-skates with several hula hoops. Later, two zombies take the stage, performing aerial stunts on the hanging sash, exemplifying their love.
After his thrilling intergalactic escapades, Dave finally manages to miraculously get back to Earth whence the film night and show ends. This creatively comic play that infuses film with circus performance mesmerises all. The dancers’ moves are graceful and any slight hitches are quickly amended, leaving the sequence looking seamless and poised. Destination Planet Earth is a fun and imaginative merging of genres, combining two disparate art forms into an entertaining combination of feats.
Destination Planet Earth was at the Cockpit Theatre from 12th until 13th August 2017.
For further information about Camden Fringe Festival 2017 visit the website here.