Edinburgh Fringe 2009
We’re promised "3,600 seconds of unbelievable kinetic entertainment". If you know the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (the films rather than the books) this expert in epic-precis will take you on a whirlwhind, one-man, and almost unbelievable journey through the whole saga. Charlie Ross impresses again, after his successful one-man Star Wars Trilogy last year.
Of course, all three DVDs are packed into the hour or so. The impersonations are expertly observed and recreated. Serkis’s Gollum is very Serkis-like. Frodo and Aragorn are the weakest. Overall Charlie Ross is a massive talent, full of masterclass timing, 150% commitment, and physical and vocal skills that are genius.
The audience loved it and, yes, you do need to at least know the story, eilther from books or film, ideally the films.
The theatre spectacle here is that this is one man; no props, set, sound effects, just the vocal, physical and editing/precls-ing skills of the performer.
Part of the positive audience reaction isn’t just the laughter.(of
which there is much), but also the murmers and nods of approval at the selection of material – the choice of the right moments and clips from the story – a story rendered into many hours of film, and, of course, extended onto DVD. We’re even told where the DVDs are broken from DVD1 to 2. In fact there are many comic moments where the performer expertly satirises the genre, to whoops of delight from the audience.
So, this is also a great show for the fans as it selects so, reducing to essence from the movies, the personal "favourite bits", the groany bits, the cheesy bits and also – and this lifts One Man above just comedy tribute – a few of the serious, dramatic bits. Sometimes the narrative is a bit chaotic, hard to follow, but only momentarily. Mostly it is fun, a spectacle, and enjoyable.
This is a hlgh quallty, break-neck performance from a master at this craft.