One Man Lord of the Rings
3 tales of lands away,
3 tales of friendship,
3 tales of life and death
and one man to tell them
Peter Jackson totally broke the mould when he took on the monumental task of bringing to life Middle Earth and Tolkien's Lord of The Rings trilogy. Filmed in New Zealand, costing millions and cast with thousands, it quickly became THE viewing for anyone remotely keen to escape to The Shire and beyond. There was one person, however, who saw LOTR and instead of being blown away by the scale and majesty thought - "I can do that"
Enter Charlie Ross, Canadian actor, writing, painter of dreams and creator of nightmares (ok, I added the last two bits) who, fresh from his Lucas-inspired tour of One Man Star Wars, embarked on re-writing the greatest story ever told (as voted for by Tolkien Weekly) into an hour and a half solo spectacular. For this show, Charlie does it all, voices, acting, sound effects, background music and for anyone who has seen the Jackson movies, it is instantly recognisable whilst at the same time unique. With regular knowing nods to the audience and geeky in-jokes, Charlie uses the fact that the movies are so well known to add more topical references and play on the cast members' own idiosyncrasies - previous films they have starred in, Legolas' obsession with his hair, Saruman's ultra deep voice, unrequited Hobbit love ?? etc.
With nothing but a microphone, Charlie Ross re-creates the vast lands, claustrophobic dungeons, weyrs of dragons, huge armies and of course, those touching, telling moments between 'friends'.
The audience last night, tho small, were all very keen LOTR fans, well, I say all but, as Charlie conducted a very brief poll at the start to see who has watched the DVDs, extras, director extras etc, there were a few 'yeas' to the question "Has anyone here NOT seen or read LOTR" - just what they would make of the show was open to debate, but actually, whilst some of the in-jokes would have been lost on them, there was no denying the skill, talent and energy on stage. For those who know and love it, Charlie's show is like the missing extra that would make the ultimate box set to end all box sets.
For those Tolkien and Lord of the Rings Fans who feel they have seen everything they can about the story to end all stories, I urge you to go see Charlie Ross's One Man version - it is one of the funniest and entertaining shows I've seen at Darlington all year. I just wish he had brought this out on DVD, it would have saved me the 15 hours of pre-show preparation watching the extended directors cut box set and learning the Silmarillion.
One Man Lord of the Rings is on tour for the next few weeks - check out the website www.onemanlotr.com
EXTRA EXTRA - For those who loved Charlie's LOTR, he is back in the North East on the 13th October at Whitley Bay Playhouse doing his One Man Star Wars show