Die Hard: The Musical-ish (Fringe): Review

Jessica Kim

What a show to start off my Fringe adventure! Well, frankly, it was a safe choice- with a classic like Die Hard (1988) and a bunch of eighties pop hits like Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer and A-Ha’s Take On Me (kind of), it’s hard not to have an enjoyable experience. They utilized the small space at Studio 1398 by getting rid of any backstage space; the “wings” had actors standing with their backs towards the stage in front of a props table. Because there was so much action going onstage, it was surprisingly not as distracting as I thought it would be.

The humor was mostly derived from badly summarizing the movie and funky choreography/lyrics at the most inappropriate times. It does get a little bit repetitive but the director (Rick Vandenberg) breaks the 4th wall sometimes to comment on their low budget, how they don’t have “amazing” pyrotechnics like the movie, and even explains some of the scenes by giving a powerpoint presentation. The cast overall needed more projection or the accompaniment had to be lower, but the choreography (Paige Vassos) was definitely on point and much of the comic elements were well received by the audience largely thanks to it. The fight choreography was surprisingly good as well (because Die Hard), so notable performances go to Richard Meen, star (John McClane) and Fight Choreographer along with Vic Ustare, who went above and beyond with his acting as several characters including Takagi and Al.

Overall, this is a fun, traditionally comedic jukebox musical with some clever twists. This would be a good starter for easing into the Fringe Festival for those who are not familiar or comfortable with many experimental and more artsy Fringe shows.



Die Hard: The Musical-ish by Mark Vandenberg is running at Studio 1398 as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival, September 6th – 16th (Select times)

Tickets | Facebook Event | Studio 1398