Lichfield Garrick Theatre, February 25th 2010
He manages to convey each character exceptionally well, not only through the voice acting but also through visual cues – throughout this entire show it’s just him on an empty stage with a black boiler suit on – so when he takes on the role of a certain character he stands in a certain way or does a simple mime. With Gandalf he held an imaginary staff, with Legolas he would run his fingers through invisible long and well-kept hair, with Gimli he’d stoop. Even Treebeard had a stance that made him instantly recognisable, with Charles expanding his body outwards as far as he could and taking long thumping strides. Even without these visual aides his voice acting was excellent, especially Frodo and Gollum, and his Saruman was almost perfect.
The show requires some knowledge of the books to help the audience through, even more so the films as some of the movements and even facial expressions mirror the performances given by the actors in the movies. That’s part of the show’s cleverness – the fact that Charles Ross has obviously watched the moves over and over to help perfect his performances and judge what lines to use based on their importance and impact (and it was no doubt the Extended Editions he watched as at just the right moments during the performance he would slip in the line ‘change the DVD’).
His jokes were well-timed and spot on (I won’t go into detail as to what they were as that’d just ruin it for you) and they caused chuckles to belly laughs to outright laughter. He received more than once a well-deserved round of applause for his jokes, especially the little jokes he’d just slip in here and there to accentuate an already funny performance. Even lines from the movies were getting laughs.
After the show and the very long round of applause he graciously received from a very appreciative audience he sat down and told us about how this show came about, and there were even a couple of surprises in this little informal chat he seemed to behaving with us. This story, with him sat cross-legged on the stage with a half-empty bottle of water made the whole thing seem very intimate and put a fantastic full stop to a funny and entertaining evening.
So, I came away a happy and thoroughly entertained man. I’m great lover of Lord of the Rings – I’ve been a fan of it since 1979 – so I’m usually critical of interpretations of it, but considering that I’m a lover of the movies and this one man show is his comedy version of those movies then there wasn’t anything in this show I didn’t enjoy. You have to know the movies or the book to fully appreciate it, but then you wouldn’t be going to se something like this unless you already knew them.
I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and I can’t recommend this show enough.
Visit www.onemanlotr.com for more information