Ringer Spy Greenwood Hobbit attended some sort of Lord of the Rings inspired performance during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and here’s her report!

Lords of the Ring The Fellowship of the Fringe trooped along to see this ‘epic tale of passions seething below the surface of the Edgbaston Tolkien Society’ on 10th August in Edinburgh. Packed into a hot, dark room wider than it was long, we were treated to a gravelly-voiced introduction, as in the movie. Galadriel this guy wasn’t…! Then ‘Gandalf’ and ‘Saruman’ appeared from behind screens, and a re-enactment of the famous duel commenced. That was hilarious; flowing robes, ‘Santa in a wind-tunnel’ wigs, nifty moves, staffs of a kind available at all good garden centres, and sound effects of the ‘Zap/Pfffzzztt/Zinnng/Fttang school of wizardry. Then – it stopped. Wigs were pulled off, and a petulant cry of ‘Jean – the pyro didn’t go off! You’ve ruined the re-enactment!’ broke the mood. Shrugging off robes and taking up clipboards, the two men – who I will call Bossy and Nerd – began to introduce a lecture on Tolkien (during which the pyro did go off, by the way). The lecture theme underpinned the whole performance. Video footage was played on a central screen, prefaced by capering captions familiar to anyone who’s been subjected to over-enthusiastic Powerpoint presentations. A map of Middle Earth lay on the floor, created by the local young offender’s institution (with lurid graffiti on the reverse!) The murky politics of small specialist organisations were probed, and intrigues of an adulterous nature were hinted at. Some ghastly but very funny footage of a Tom Bombadil lookalike frolicking in the meadows was played, and a Tom-style song sung. This isn’t a blow-by-blow account of the show; there was a lot of material in there, it’s impossible to recall it all after one viewing. I do remember Nerd slapping on a wig, kneeling on his shoes and ‘doing a Frodo’; there was also a very funny LOTR spoof song which sadly I can’t remember (it was a very busy weekend!) Bossy had been sleeping with Nerd’s wife, it turned out; Nerd was suitably crushed by this. However, the tale took an unexpected turn when Bossy announced he’d only done it ‘to be closer to’ Nerd. Hand in hand, they sang the final number ‘We are the Champions – of Middle Earth’ and the audience joined in with much arm-waving. It was a funny show; perhaps funnier to those with a more general awareness of Tolkien, rather than an absorbing interest, as TORnsibs tend to have. I felt the nerdiness thing was a bit overdone, but that’s just a personal opinion. However, it was very creative and witty, the two performers Chris Chilton and Stuart Robb were full of energy, and performed with the minimum of props and scenery, throwing in a couple of energetic musical numbers too. The audience seemed well pleased by the show.