One Man Lord of the Rings: a melee of one in Melbourne

Charlie Ross is an affable Canadian who has been making a globe-trotting living with his one-man Star Wars trilogy show, and he has expanded his sights with the movie version of Lord of the Rings.

I caught his one-hour adaptation at Monash University’s Clayton Campus and what a madcap hour it was — with a water break at each movie change-over. The thing that makes the show so winning is the humour Ross injects, whether in-jokes, ad libs at the audience, references to other movies (such as ‘Elrond’, played by Hugo Weaving in the movies, uttering a “Mr Anderson” line in firm Matrix style) or comic physicality.

The hour passed in a whirl — Ross is very physical, spending almost as much time on the ground as on his feet — of vocal sound effects, movie lines and characterisations (his Gollum was wonderful, especially doing both Gollum and Smeagol at the same time). I got lost at times — I think he slipped into the superior extended versions at times — because it’s been a while, the cast is huge and the movies are massively long; I’d hate to think of anyone trying to follow without any familiarity with the movies at all.

It was interesting to note which characters really stood out in a propless, costumeless one-man performance: Legolas’s hair, Frodo’s whining, Denethor’s ugly table manners …

It’s been a few years since I saw Ross’s Star Wars show but I remember it being very easy to follow, probably due to my exposure to the ‘good trilogy’, as he calls it.

As an epilogue, Ross had a quick chat from the stage about his career to date: I should think there would’ve been a few jealous geeks in the audience who wished they’d thought of turning loving mimicry into a career, even if the franchise owners take their slab of the gross!

LOTR provided a fun night out with some great chuckles, and whetted the appetite for another viewing of Peter Jackson’s sensational trilogy.

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