NYMF Review #5: Fellowship!

            I'm gay.  Isn't this better than a funny Sean Astin 

            I'm dancing weird.  Isn't this better than a funny 
            Orlando Bloom impression?

            We're in New York City.  That means people want to 
            hear improvised lines about Wicked, right?

            You realize we're not tourists, and that we actually 
            came toting copies of Fellowship of the Ring, right?


ACTUAL GUY THAT I MET IN THE LOBBY No really, I was skimming through a very well-worn copy of Tolkien while I was waiting for them to let the house in.
When walking into "Fellowship!", the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring parody, you're one of three types of people:
  1. You're someone who has never seen the movies, in which case you're going to be so very, very confused for 95 minutes. 
  2. You're someone who treats Lord of the Rings as a sacred work, in which case you're my wife.  And nothing was going to satisfy the horror you experienced when you found J. R. R. Tolkien's religious masterpiece desecrated. 
  3. You've seen the movies, enjoy silly comedy, and are ready for a good time.  Which is exactly what the show delivers.

Fellowship! has been around for awhile--I believe was given a copy of the cast recording a good 5 or 6 years ago but never bothered to listen to it--and it was created by a California-based group of performers who reunite together on the east coast to recreate their Saturn-winning comedy (and if you don't know that the Saturns are the Science-Fiction-occasionally-Fantasy awards, I'm guessing you're a Type One).  9 actors portray all of the characters in the first Lord of the Rings film (the books are mostly ignored) and do it with the wit and style of a high-quality improv troupe. 

That is, the material is funny but occasionally uneven, the songs are sometimes hilarious and sometimes uneven, but it all comes at you fast and furious enough that by the time you've begun groaning at that last "New Orc City" pun, you're already laughing at, say, a rock and roll number sung entirely in what I can only assume is perfect Elvish tongue.  The best segments are little genius tidbits that poke fun at the geekiest moments of the movie--and some of them are purely inspired.  The worst is the overuse of adlibs that make the comedy nowhere near as tight and sharp as it could be, even if the cast is skilled at improvisation. 

But no matter--I've seen too many one-dimensional movie parodies in theater festivals, and this may be the only one that "gets" that the emphasis on these types of things needs to be on the comedy.  If you're interested and enjoyed the Peter Jackson movies, do catch Fellowship before it heads back to the west coast. 

Unless you think lampooning Lord of the Rings is tantamount to sin, in which case, I'm sorry honey, but that's no reason I should have to sleep on the couch tonight.



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