Saturday, May 5, 2012


So, this is something we heard about a month or so ago from an actor-friend who's in our fantasy book discussion group (thanks Allan!): a guy who travels around the country doing a one-man show based on THE LORD OF THE RINGS. We investigated, and found it's not Tolkien's LotR so much as Peter Jackson's he's doing his homage for. Furthermore, he was coming to Tacoma in the not-too-distant future.

Accordingly, yesterday (Saturday the 5th) saw us driving down to Tacoma to see what turned out to be seventy minutes that reproduce a highly abridged but nonetheless incredibly detailed and painstakingly faithful version of the Jackson films, devoting about twenty minutes to each film. The accompanying link gives some clips from his show --

--but these really don't give an idea of how kinetic the performance was: Ross was throwing himself about the stage nonstop in a way that wd have done the ever-stalwart Andy Serkis proud, filling in all the voices plus sound effects plus singing the music where appropriate. He took two brief breaks where the films stopped and started, to chat with the audience a bit and catch his breath. The clips in the link also don't convey how funny the overall effect was. Ross is serious, even solemn at times, but he also knows full well that while he's serious about what he does (you can't do a show like this without really good timing), it's also all a bit silly. The jokey-ness tends to grow a bit towards the end, but he was able to keep the audience with him. For instance, when re-enacting the scene where Saruman expounds to his minion, asking did he know where orcs come from, Ross add the aside "read The Silmarillion. No, really", and elsewhere he lamented not having Tom Bombadil in the films (he thinks Brian Blessing shd have played the part) -- just the sort of touch to warm a purist's heart.

All in all, a really impressive performance. If you don't like the Peter Jackson movies, you're not his target audience, though you might still be impressed by the complexity of his performance. If you do, but don't mind some of their oddities being gently lampooned, then you'll like this. A lot.

Now Janice and I are curious what his one-man Star Wars show is like. Although in that case I'd probably need to re-watch the movies. It's been a long time . . .

--John R.
current reading: PLAYS OF NEAR AND FAR, ALEXANDER by Lord D.


Sally Kennett said...

I went with a friend when he came to our home town a year or so ago, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing it again at Return of the Ring.

David Bratman said...

Nothing wrong with basing your stage show on the Jackson story if that's what you say you're doing. It's getting his and Tolkien's mixed up, or treating them as interchangeable, that's annoying.

Talking about who should have played Bombadil in the movies does not warm this purist's heart. Nothing that is wrong about the movies would have been improved by putting Bombadil in them.