One Man Lord of the Rings

Are you a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings? If so, look no further, this will be the highlight of your Fringe experience. At first I had no idea how Charles Ross was going to tackle the seemingly impossible task of converting Tolkien's masterpiece into a one-man show, but his uncanny opening impression of Frodo and Gandalf's meeting soon made it clear. I can have nothing but the utmost respect for the incredibly skilled Charles Ross.

For what this simple one-man show is, there is not all that much room for improvement.

Ross takes the most important parts of the trilogy and reenacts them by himself with seamless integration. The majority of his impressions are perfect, be it his wispy Gandalf or his effeminate Legolas, and perhaps more impressive than the accuracy of his impersonations is the huge range. Though Ross displays a natural gift for most characters, Aragorn was not quite up to the usually high standards.

Yet, surprisingly, it was the sound effects created that really caught my imagination. The sounds of a distant army marching, a flying Nazgul or an Ent's footsteps were so instantly recognisable that I was left in awe of Ross' exactness in respect to the films.

Ross brilliantly breaks character at certain parts of his act, sparking a wonderful contrast between the world he is busy creating and the reality that the show is simply a man flinging himself around the stage, shouting lines. This is not the only creative licence that Ross has allowed himself. Subtle additions to the story capture the thoughts of many who have watched the films: the undertones of homoeroticism between Frodo and Sam, or the fact that Sam is given very little credit for his heroic actions. There was room for even more freedom in the satirical elements of the show which could have elevated the entertainment yet further. Nevertheless, the breaks between the three instalments not only provides the audience with some respite but creates ample opportunity for Ross to entertain us with some witty standup.

Some fight scenes felt a little messy and even I (with a respectable knowledge of the films) found myself a little lost at times and therefore this is only recommended to those with a strong knowledge and interest of Peter Jackson's trilogy. I hate to think what it would have been like for the two audience members who had not seen the films. However, for those diehard fans, this will be the centrepiece of their Fringe. For what this simple one-man show is, there is not all that much room for improvement.

Reviews by Hamish Clayton

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The Blurb

One man to do it all. One man to rule them all! Ross recreates the enchanting world of Middle Earth with nothing more than elbow pads and his outrageous imagination. Be prepared to journey through the trilogy – The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King – in 3,600 seconds of unbelievable kinetic entertainment! Booming special effects, riveting stage fights and harrowing rescues, the gifted performer does it all in this engaging, epic one man show.