Reviewed by Benjamin Schwartz
Adapting the cult-classic Troll 2 for the stage is not easy. The structure is a mess, the plot has major holes and non-sequators, the character goals and intentions make no sense and the film is just plain terrible. 2 Cents Theatre Company has mounted their own musical version of the b-movie, entitled Nilbog: The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Troll 2, for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. And in case you missed it, that’s “Goblin” spelled backwards.
For the people who have seen the absurd source material, Nilbog is an absolute scream. It faithfully follows the movie, while taking some liberties to include references to other cult favorites like The Room and weirdly enough, Hamilton (???). Be prepared to hang on for an hour-long Mr. Toads-like wild ride where each turn in the story feels like the buggy is just going to go sailing off a cliff. While I debated to summarize the plot, really it isn’t even worth explaining. Google it.
This musical has a huge cast of around twenty, so it’s quite miraculous to see what Director, Kriste Boulé, has managed to achieve with the tight Three Clubs cabaret space. Actors walk around the audience and every inch is utilized with care to create some wonderful tableaux. All of the actors act badly, sing poorly and ham it up, but it’s all premeditated and is clearly a choice. Tiffany Asta, who plays Joshua, is absolutely hilarious and stays in the moment and committed to her strong, poor choices; if that makes any sense.
Does Nilbog stand on its own? No. In the same way that, in my opinion, Rocky Horror doesn’t either, but that is highly subjective. I do recommend that you watch the movie before going to see this musical parody version. And you’ll probably have a great time.
Nilbog: The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Troll 2 through June 25th.