Birdy hauled her ass over to the Assembly Roxy to attend The Baron and the Junk Dealer – the first of two Star Wars-related shows of the night, both featuring Connor Ratliff and Griffin Newman.
Let me start off by saying I love the Assembly Roxy; it’s a fab venue I used to live around the corner from, and I’ve also performed there (Chekov, I believe) when training with Acting Out!
Connor Ratliff and Griffin Newman, both of The George Lucas Talk Show fame, star in this show that’s both a little connected to the GLTS and also a standalone play in its own right. The Baron and the Junk Dealer has been described by some as ‘Waiting for Godot in space’.
I can also tell you that if you’re interested in either of the above, I also interviewed Connor Ratliff for our sister publication, Geek Native, and that’ll give you a bit more insight into both shows.
I believe it was my first time being in the Assembly Roxy Downstairs, and what we’re presented with is quite a small stage, with minimal setup (mainly just a couple of chairs).
The story starts in a time that’s not now, and somewhere really far from here. In the time of something that could only be described as space battles. There’s been a crash, and the only remaining survivors are Watto (Newman) – a junk dealer, and the mysterious Baron (Ratliff).
The above image sums up the vibe quite well. It’s explained to us at the start that the two elements you need for a good story are characters, and plot; luckily, we’re got both here.
As I said above, it’s a minimal setup, mainly because there is such a focus on the characters and the situation they find themselves in, and that’s really all you need with a show like this.
The show itself
I found the show to be very well-paced, with plenty of laughs and ways to drive the plot forward. The characters find themselves in a unique and stressful situation, and as the show goes on, it peels off the layers a bit like an onion, as you learn more and more about who they are and why they’re there.
The Baron and the Junk Dealer contains some intriguing twists and turns (albeit some of them you can see coming a mile off, such as when the Baron talks about slavers being the lowest of the low), and some you don’t.
Will they manage to ever escape this planet? Will their distress call be heard in time? Will they ever drink anything other than piss ever again?
One of the best lines is actually piss related, and it’s just such a random, unexpected comment that it had me properly belly laughing – twice!
On the whole, it’s story about survival and friendship, but it’s also a lot more than that. It’s storytelling at its finest, and it keeps your attention throughout – even when it gets a bit meta.
Does it have a happy ending? I like to think it does, but it’s left up to the viewers’ own interpretation – see it for yourself and then come back to me with your take on it.
I really enjoyed The Baron and the Junk Dealer, and felt like it was an hour of my time well spent.
I’m also really appreciative of what Connor and Newman have managed to do here, by building a play using their same recognisable characters from The George Lucas Talk Show, but in a way that’s totally different and can be enjoyed by people who aren’t even familiar with the show.