Theater Camp

#Review: Theater Camp

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Coming to Irish cinemas this week is the “mockumentary” Theater Camp. Starring Molly Gordon, Ben Platt, Noah Galvin and Jimmy Tatro, Theater Camp is about a camp for young artists. Unfortunately, tragedy has struck. They’ve lost the founder of their camp, and now have to rely on her less-than-capable son (Jimmy Tatro) and the remaining members of staff. How will it all shake out? Also, can all of them being together be enough to save their camp from possible financial ruin?

If you read that brief synopsis that I just put forth you would, like me, think this sounds like a fairly formulaic film, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Theater Camp takes inspiration from films like Best in Show to Camp Rock. The narrative doesn’t stray from the usual story beats of films like Camp Rock, especially. If you’ve seen a film about teens at a camp, you’ll guess where this film is going.

The film follows several key figures in the day-to-day running of a theatre camp known as AdirondACTS. All of the characters are eccentric and if I’m being honest quite stereotypical of what you’d come to expect in a film about the arts. Thankfully, what makes the characters work is that the cast itself is great.

A particular highlight for me was Noah Galvin’s Glenn. He’s a scene-stealer, and as the film builds to its climax he really shines. An issue with this film, like most within this genre, is that due to the dramatic nature of the characters, they can be quite grating at times. This mainly comes in the shape of the dynamic between Molly Gordon’s Rebecca-Diane and Ben Platt’s Amos. Their relationship is co-dependent and frustratingly predictable. Thankfully, as the film goes on their relationship evolves into something more interesting, even if it is also quite played out.

As a comedy, this film delivers well. The children and the adults work well together and there are some surprisingly heartful moments throughout. The film doesn’t try anything truly innovative, instead relying on its cast. This worked for me and I believe it will work for a lot of audiences. If you’re a fan of the arts and enjoy a good bit of satire about it, you’ll likely have a good time with Theater Camp.

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