Review: The Raiders of the Temple of the Last Crusade
Three stories. Three props – a box, shadow puppets and a map of the world. One man. Prepare yourselves for an exciting and humorous performance of the classic Indiana Jones series: The Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. Fun and engaging, the Temples of the Raiders of the Last Crusade is truly enjoyable. Packed full of leaping, accents and digs at the source material, you don’t have to be an Indiana Jones tragic to enjoy the performance, but it certainly helps.
The Raiders of the Temple of the Last Crusade covers the initial Indiana Jones trilogy in an abridged one man show. Although it is a daunting prospect, Stephen Hall (Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Hollowmen, Bond-A-Rama!) manages to make it an accurate, exciting piece. He opened with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the energy was boundless. Right from the get-go, Hall threw himself into the plethora of roles, adapting his body and voice to fit the character at the time. The accents were amazingly accurate, which highlighted his skills, and when combined with his almost child-like enthusiasm and energy, proved he is very capable. The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade were both excellently performed as well, with a perfect transition between all three stories, which kept the piece fluid and fast paced.
The props made a fun aspect of the performance. There were three big props onstage – a large box, a map of the world, and a shadow puppet box. The box received the most attention throughout the performance – it was in the centre of the stage, and it was the most versatile of the three props. However, all three had their moments in the sun. The map of the world had a particularly amusing aspect – a red pen with a model airplane covering it. This simulated the plane trips that occur during the stories, and proved to be highly amusing, considering Hall would hum the Indiana Jones theme throughout these periods, keeping the pace flowing. The props helped add a slight level of authenticity to the performance, on top of Hall’s superb acting skills.
There were only a few minor issues with the performance. First and foremost was the audience – numerous people were up to fifteen minutes late to the performance, which is a lot of time when the show only goes for an hour. Aside from distracting latecomers, there were also numerous phones going off. A reminder to all show-goers, regardless of whether it is big or small – it is the height of impoliteness to have your mobile phone go off. Either turn it off, or put the device on silent. It is distracting to both audience members and the performer.
The other issues with the performance were slightly connected. Firstly, there was a technical problem with the microphone coming loose midway through the performance. Whilst Hall proceeded to soldier on, and the show sounded fine without amplification, it did seem to rattle his confidence slightly, and the show was definitely less vibrant than it had been. The other contributing factor to the slightly tired out feel was the fact that Hall was becoming exhausted after an hour of intense stage performance (understandably too – it looked like very hard work). However, it did start to feel more tired as a performance.
Overall, The Raiders of the Temple of the Last Crusade was a fun show. Filled with energy, even towards the end, it was highly amusing, and showcased Halls’ acting skills in a fantastic manner. The primary problem came from the audience during the show, which is no fault of the performer’s, although some of the slipups and the loss of confidence after the microphone mishap did slightly dampen the show. The props and the accents made up for the minor issues. In conclusion, the performance was a fantastically first-rate piece of Fringe Festival fun!