This endearing faux documentary will appeal to anyone who has been, or known, or given birth to a theater kid (as my wife and I did). They are a breed apart and cling to one another like long-lost cousins who have just met after an extended separation. Self-described theater kids Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman have taken a surprisingly farcical approach to their depiction of a summer camp for the breed. It’s a refreshing idea that propels this nearly-believable film and offers good parts to all of them.
Amy Sedaris plays the founder of the camp in upstate New York who is sidelined by a poorly-timed stroke. Her friends and surrogate family immediately pitch in to make sure that Adirond Acts continues business as usual. The monkey wrench in that plan is her addle-brained son (YouTube sensation Jimmy Tatro), who has no discernable talent and even less interest in the world of theater. The narrative unfolds in bursts of activity, punctuated by often-hilarious but deadpan title cards.
The supporting cast includes Ayo Edebiri (of The Bear) and Caroline Aaron (late of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), who bring their own comic energy to the proceedings. There is an easygoing feel to Theater Camp that I found appealing, even as the storyline dares to defy credibility. It’s the end result of friends coming together to make a movie about something they’ve all shared and want to let us in on. I’m glad they did.