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Audio Play / The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien

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"I thought the movies were brilliant, but they would have been so much better if they'd been a musical. If they'd have considered a sort of Baz Luhrmann/Peter Jackson collaboration..."
Martin Pearson (explaining how he came up with the show)

The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien is a lovingly irreverent re-telling of The Lord of the Rings, interspersed with songs. The story sections tend to switch among pointing out the logical inconsistencies and plot holes of the story, highlighting the differences between the book and the movie, and sometimes just careening off the rails, depending on what is funniest at the time.

The show is performed by Australian comedian, folk singer extraordinaire and all-around nerd Martin Pearson.

A live recording of the show has been released on CD in 2004. Pearson has also officially stated that, given the difficulty of finding the show on CD for a reasonable price, he's OK with fans torrent-downloading the show for free.

A sequel, based on The Hobbit movies, has been confirmed for release "after they come out".


  1. "The Shire" (3:59)
  2. "The Gandalf Song" (2:25)
  3. "Fellowship of the Ring" (13:20)
  4. "The Fellowship Song" (3:39)
  5. "Dwarves, Elves and Humans" (9:55)
  6. "The Two Towers Song" (3:46)
  7. "The Two Towers" (1:14)
  8. "The Balrog Song" (3:27)
  9. "The Journey Continues" (12:36)
  10. "The Nazgûl Song" (4:57)
  11. "Fangorn Forest and Helm's Deep" (12:27)
  12. "The Saruman Song" (4:03)
  13. "Frodo Heads for Mordor" (4:44)
  14. "The Legolas & Gimli Song" (3:39)
  15. "The Fall of Isengard" (18:06)
  16. "The Denethor Song" (3:54)
  17. "Pookums, Shelob and Friendly Ghosts" (12:58)
  18. "The Loo Break Song" (6:30)
  19. "Sarumartin of Many Colours" (1:09)
  20. "Book of Shadows" (1:35)
  21. "Get it Off" (0:17)
  22. "Terrorists of the Towers" (2:51)
  23. "Dwarven Chant" (1:32)
  24. "Dwarvishism" (0:17)
  25. "Does it Glitter" (0:16)
  26. "The Nine" (1:41)
  27. "Outtake No. 247" (0:21)

Unfinished Troping Errors

  • Acting for Two:invoked Mostly averted, as the show is largely in third person, but the songs are first-person, so "The Legolas and Gimli Song" requires Martin to switch between the high, soft Legolas voice and the loud, gruff, Scot-ish Gimli voice.
  • Actor Allusion: At one point Gandalf refers to Faramir as "Dan", David Wenham's character from SeaChange.
  • And This Is for...: During Sam's attack on the Tower of Cirith Ungol, he stabs one victim for every name he can remember. The orcs are noted to be relieved he didn't bring his address book.
  • Audience Participation Failure:
    • During the "Fellowship of the Ring" song, to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It", the second verse defeats the audience, who attempt to clap at "If you're Gimli and you know it, grab your axe", and then again at "Give those nasty goblins 40 whacks" a full 40 times. Pearson has to pause the song and clarify. Naturally, it all makes the whole thing funnier.
    • Issues with clapping also arise in the Saruman Song.
      Pearson: I might try it without your kind assistance...
  • Audience Participation Song: All of the songs have "a bit in it for" the audience.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Much is made of Gandalf's.
  • Born Unlucky: Boromir, apparently, who spent most of his younger years getting lost, and subsequently is the only one ensnared by the Ring's power and Killed Off for Real.
  • Black Speech: "The Two Towers Song" (and elsewhere)
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Well, more like squick squick really-bad-squick. The Uruk-Hai’s repertoire of songs are listed as “Killing In The Rain”, “Raindrops Keep Falling On The Dead”, and the ‘ever-popular Orcish love ballad, “I’m About To Tear Off Your Scrotum and Eat It”’.
  • Bulletproof Fashion Plate: Legolas.
    "Legolas, meanwhile, still has perfect hair — still braided — and appears remarkably clean, yet he has no backpack. Where does he keep his brush?"
  • Compensating for Something: Martin notes that Saruman's Evil Tower of Ominousness is completely hollow, and wonders if he could be compensating for something.
  • Elfeminate: Almost any time Legolas is mentioned.
  • Ending Fatigue: "The Loo Break Song" is an In-Universe comment on the seemingly endless succession of endings in The Return of the King (and on the audience's desperate need to empty their bladders once the film actually finishes).
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: "The Saruman Blues" has the line "I've got this guy called Grima, he's a slimy troublemaker, more disturbing than a lawyer who's a part-time undertaker."
  • Fantastic Racism: "What is this inability to put dwarves on screen?! SPECIESIST, THAT'S WHAT IT IS!"
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Witch-King sits on his vast, evil, bat-winged steed... Pookums.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Martin points out that the Balrog seems completely unaware of the fact that it has wings.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Minas Tirith’s guards are pathetic, taking forever to half-heartedly say ‘halt’ to Gandalf and Pippin any time they get mentioned, even when Gandalf is clubbing their boss Denethor with his staff. The only order they ever follow promptly is to flee for their lives.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Mocked repeatedly, especially in Rohan.
    Éowyn and Éomer, son of Éomund; Théoden, son of Thengel; and Gríma, son of a bitch.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Witch-King very carefully misses Frodo's heart when he stabs him.
  • Inherently Funny Words: When describing Boromir's nose, Pearson pauses and repeats the word just to savour it.
    [Boromir] did, however, inherit his [father's] receding hairline and huge conk. (beat) Conk.
  • Invincible Hero: Aragorn believes he is this, knowing in advance that the third film refers to him with the title. Thus when he falls off a cliff in The Two Towers, Pearson notes his astonishment.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: After the first chorus of Gollum's song (a parody of "Ring of Fire" without backing music) begins the second verse:
    The taste of fish is sweet
    SPLASH. Sizzle.
  • Left the Background Music On: The Nazgûl in Fellowship are followed by Sauron's chamber orchestra, playing the appropriately titled tune, "Theme for Loud Unsubtle Bastards".
  • Live Album: It was recorded live at the Merry Muse in Canberra, April 2004.
  • Minor Insult Meltdown: The Balrog is pissed because Pippin apparently dropped the dead orc into his mug of cocoa.
  • Musical Pastiche: Most of the songs are parodies or use the tunes of other songs. Sometimes it makes sense, such as "Ghost Riders in the Sky" for "The Nazgûl Song"; other times... less so.
  • Obviously Evil: Pearson laments that Gandalf did not pick up on the fact that Saruman was a bad guy, despite living in a tower completely painted black, and even worse, played by Christopher Lee.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: "Gimli arrives with his introductory pratfall, and we realise that he has drawn the Comic Relief short straw for the movie."
  • Powder Gag: Gimli blows on the horn of Helm Hammerhand and gets covered in powder that old Helm left in there as a joke.
  • Precision F-Strike: Perhaps surprisingly, there is only one use of the word "fuck" in the show.
  • Pretty Freeloaders: Elrond hangs out in Théoden's tent. Théoden gets a bit tired of it.
  • Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: Elrond tries to give Aragorn the sword Andúril, and winds up pulling out two white rabbits and a dove. Aragorn is bemused; Elrond is rather sheepish.
  • Pun: A couple stand out, even by the standards of the show.
    "Merry wants them to go to war, but the Ents consider this a moot point."
    (collective groan from the audience)
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Frodo attempts his scary face on Gollum, and "looks about as threatening as a Girl Guide crossed with a Pokémon".
  • Running Gag: The second half of the show covers the third movie and has repeated references to Frodo trying to find his way to "Book Three".
  • Self-Deprecation: "The Ents are slow and boring, have no social skills, speak a language nobody else understands, and can't remember what women look like. Merry and Pippin immediately grasp the awful truth: he's a folkie!"
  • Serious Business
    This isn't The Hobbit any more, this is serious literature!
  • Shout-Out: Many, including Dungeons & Dragons, The Sixth Sense, and The Quatermass Experiment.
  • Song Parody: Every song. The originals are, in order:
    "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver
    "If You're Happy And You Know It"
    "King of the Road" by The Proclaimers
    "I've Just Seen A Face" by the Beatles
    "Wouldn't It Be Loverley" from My Fair Lady
    "Ghost Riders In The Sky" by Johnny Cash
    "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran
    "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun
    "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley
    "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash
    "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Julia Ward Howe
  • Theme Naming: The songs are all called "The [Noun] Song".
  • Villain Song: Sauron, Saruman, the Nazgûl and the Balrog all get songs from their perspective.
  • Wake Up Fighting: Apparently so common in Rohan, the morning buglers have learned to just run away after playing a single note, lest they get hacked to bits by the troops they just woke up.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?:
    At this point we are introduced to the other Hobbits: Sam, a Devonshire Hobbit; Pippin, an Irish-Scottish-Gaelic Hobbit; and Merry... your guess is as good as mine.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: The first fight between Gandalf and Saruman in Orthanc is described thusly:
    Saruman not only wipes the floor with Gandalf, he rotary-polishes it as well.