The Toys Are Back In Town

Dreamgun Film Reads co-founder STEPHEN COLFER explains the madness behind bring Toy Story to the stage.

Having revisited, rewritten and rewired big-screen classics from Titanic to Harry Potter live on stage, the Dreamgun Film Reads gang have chosen to bring Toy Story to Greystones on Saturday, July 13th.

Having started out in the basement of a pub in Dublin back in 2017, Dreamgun have toured their shows all over Ireland and on to Edinburgh, London and Australia, even selling out Vicar Street along the way.

So, just how did these crazy kids perfect taking films from the page to the stage? Here’s Dreamgun co-founder Stephen Colfer to explain…

Film Reads started out as a couple of comics and actors trying to raise money for a play by reading the script of Jurassic Park at a comedy fundraiser. Turns out audiences preferred the fundraiser to the play, so we shifted our focus, and Film Reads was born.

Each Film Read features a script completely rewritten using the original film as a starting point. Each character is played by an actor or comic reading their lines with no rehearsal for the first time. The whole thing is kept together by our narrator, Ronan Carey, who keeps everyone in line and also explains the bits of a film you just can’t convey with six people on stage holding scripts. Things like explosions, fights, the Titanic in Titanic, beautiful cinematography — basically all the things that make a film good are now a guy on a stool. But he’s a funny guy, and he’s wearing a nice jacket.

As the show grew, we were lucky enough to collaborate with The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival on Film Reads with their all-star lineups. Suddenly, we were reading Back To The Future and Jaws alongside Dara O’Briain, Aisling Bea, James Acaster, Alison Spittle, and David O’Doherty. We asked Dara O’Briain to play Jaws in Jaws, which was definitely a highlight. Jaws doesn’t have any lines in Jaws, so we wrote in a bit where Jaws does stand-up about being a shark. Thankfully, Dara got the joke.

We try to pick films that everyone has seen and wouldn’t even need a refresher or a rewatch to remember the plot. Films like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park — basically anything that would have been a Very Big Movie in 1999.

This summer, we’re working on a new Film Read of Toy Story, which we’re bringing to The Whale Theatre in Greystones on July 13th. It’ll address all your questions that the original film left unanswered.

Questions like, “What happened to Andy’s dad?” and “Are jigsaws also alive?”. My co-writers, Gavin and James, and I are deep in research as we write the script. We like to immerse ourselves in as much media about the film as we can, so we’ve watched all four Toy Story films, the Lightyear movie nobody saw, and there’s also a million Toy Story shorts on Disney+ we’re working our way through. The show is a non-stop barrage of jokes, and it takes consuming every drop of media we can find to keep them flowing. We usually sign off on the final draft of each script on the morning of the show. The advantage of no rehearsal means we can keep writing jokes in pen even after the scripts are printed.

Our cast will feature Stephen Colfer (me), Erin McGathy and Edwin Sammon, with Gavin Drea as Buzz Lightyear, who you might remember as the bartender in the last scene of Baby Reindeer and also from Love/Hate, What Richard Did, and Cyberpunk 2077.

We’re taking Toy Story and the best scripts from our collection to the Edinburgh Fringe this August for our 6th run at the festival.

So far, we’ve rewritten and performed 22 films, and we’re nowhere near done. According to the International Movie Database, there are way more films than that.

You can catch the Dreamgun Film Read of Toy Story at The Whale on Saturday, July 13th at 8pm – tickets right here – and find out more about these wily widescreen wizards right here:


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