Think of the challenges in making the new Star Wars films. On the one hand you need to be faithful to the things everybody knows and loves, including enough desert planets, light sabres & stormtroopers for it to feel like a Star Wars story. On the other hand you need introduce new ideas, new characters and new locations, taking the chance that the audience won’t enjoy the things that you’ve added. “Millions Of Voices” faced the same challenges as any new Star Wars film, and succeeded in meeting them in a fun filled hour of geeky entertainment.
Nick Parkhouse introduced the show by asking the audience about their knowledge of Star Wars and confirming the show is designed to be enjoyable no matter how little you know. After obtaining a subtitle for this new Star Wars story, the stage went black and the performers professionally reproduced the familiar opening from the films. The combined effect of the warm opening by Nick and the faithful staging of the starting moments was to reassure the audience that they were in safe hands.
This performance opened with two middle managers on board the Death Star dealing with the admin difficulties of such a large operation. Meanwhile on Princess Leia’s home planet of Alderaan, we met a wide range of characters whose stories all intertwined:
- A long-suffering B&B owner (Jeanette Bird-Bradley) with the wonderful catchphrase of “This isn’t a hotel”.
- A Jedi master with no legs, played by Nick Tyler who created a brilliant physical performance with both this character and the gangly tentacled alien he played.
- A man facing an existential crisis and a droid with a bad motivator encouraging him to jump off a cliff. The quiet authentic worry of Ben MacPherson allowed Phil Carruthers’ droid to get the biggest laugh of the night with a cheerful “YOLO”.
- An oddball gang helping a lost couple, led by Marilyn Ann Bird. Her choice of West Country accent meant we recognised the off-putting friendliness of some strangers. Perhaps coincidentally, it reminded me of David Prowse’s original performance as Darth Vader before it was dubbed by James Earl Jones.
In between these stories, we discovered there were spies on board the Death Star. Bothan spies. Spies who spoke only in gibberish, yet were understandable and generated laughs just like any other scene. Their presence was detected by one of the middle managers (Lloydie James Lloyd) who used his administration skills to detect that an extra helmet was not a handy bit of luck but an indication that one of the stormtroopers was missing.
Fans of the Star Wars franchise will already know how all these stories end, as both Alderaan and the Death Star are shown in the first Star Wars film. Yet how these stories end is not important. What is important is the time spent imaging a lighter side to the Star Wars universe and the fun had along the way.
MissImp perform regularly in and around Nottingham.
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