I saw Charlie Ross’ One Man Lord of the Rings Show, (at least in part) at Melbourne Supanova. I was going to say I can’t explain how good it is, but that’s a lie, I can and I will.
If you don’t want read about it secondhand, I recommend you go see it. Anywhere. The show sold out at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, but who knows…Anyhoo, ‘ere be spoilery stuff. Firstly, to really enjoy it, go read the books, and then watch the films. Then see the show, I know that’s very linear and mundane time-wise, but this show is a one person in-joke shared with an audience. Even if you’re there, you won’t get unless you get it. Got it?
Through OMLoTR Charles Ross conveyed a lot writing and performing. Yes, theatre and comedy are visual media, but so much can be conveyed with so little, really. Just one man in a black jumpsuit on a stage with a microphone. And I was there, really there, seeing the film in my head while fully appreciating Ross’ very real and physical performance, which was convincing. Also convincing was, what’s the best descriptor…The Soundtrack. He managed a multiple character monologue, plus music and sound effects and IT WAS AWESOME. It wasn’t just that he was a spot on mimic, which he clearly is, but it was all at once, there wasn’t a silent moment. And it was real and yet every so often, while present as a character, he was also a commentator. He was Charles Ross, obvious fan, as well as the characters and it was these moments when Ross was joking with the audience, which leant the entire show it’s uniqueness. This wasn’t just a retelling in a special way, but a retelling with humour and love and understanding and it brought the performance and audience closer because we were all laughing and appreciating. Together. There was joy in the recognition of thing’s we’ve all thought and until now, on one has expressed on stage.
This show was also a lesson to the multi-gazzillion dollar spending movie and theatre production people, if your material is good, it can be good whatever the budget. Look after the material, and the writer’s of the material, as they’re the foundation of everything. Then, get the right performers for the job, not just the biggest names, but the performers who best embody the roles. This should be Hollywood 101, but again and again I see the system and the people who run it forget they work in a dream factory and churn out cookie cutter copies instead of originals. One Man Lord of the Rings reminds me anyone can be original, even reworking something that’s gone before, when they bring the passion and the clever.