Review by ERIK BLAIRJune 18, 2017 certified reviewer
What I liked
Some of the fourth-wall breaking aspects were amusing and the updates to things like the jive-talking men were inspired. Had the REST of the show been that inspired, this could have been the breakout comedy of this Festival.
Also, the Doctor and the character who constantly talks about “I guess I picked the wrong week to…” were exceptional in their performance and delivery.
What I didn't like
Here’s the danger of trying to parody/reflect/tribute/whatever you want to call it a show that’s as iconic as Airplane:
We all know it so well.
So you’ve only got two real options to doing it: Either find people who can pull off great mimicry of the original cast (at least delivery-wise or line-reading or physicality) OR who can create great caricatures of those performances (like overbearing as Captain Kirk, for instance, in Star Trek). You have to give the audience the sign-posts of the original film for us to follow along with, and that’s MORE than just the script and lines. It’s also the images and actors and performances we remember.
In this particular production, most of that fails to appear for me and in response, I had a hard time getting into the spirit of the film because very little of the production FELT like Airplane. And that, for me, was the biggest issue for the production and it infused throughout the show.
That’s not to say it didn’t occasionally come through. The autopilot had its moments and they worked. The doctor—great delivery, even though more over the top. Instead, I’m talking about moments like having a drinking problem—it happened, but it felt completely without the pacing/humor/timing that made the original so funny.
And that’s not to say this is easy. The cast did an applaudable effort in TRYING to land this production safely. Unfortunately, for me, it never quite got off the ground in the way that I wanted it to do.
My overall impression
I wanted to like this show. I truly did. And while there were moments that I laughed, pulling off a parody of a parody is an INCREDIBLY tough idea. And in this case, for me the show fails to manage to do so throughout most of its performance.