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An Evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 17th Nov 2014 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe
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I didn’t grow up as an Arnie fan. Never quite “hit the spot”. But a reserved seat requires reserved judgement and a man who won Mr Universe five times can’t be wrestled with. 
This night of ‘Total Recall’ hosted by Jonathan Ross on Saturday at Lancaster London Hotel explored his progression from ‘The Terminator to The Governator’. Expendable time it was not, and the evening taught me he’s passionate in an unconventional way.
By day I’m a live show producer, so the 30-minute wait for Ross to appear with 1,200 fans, tapping their toes to a music-free room didn’t feel quite right. However, once the big man was there, he was greeted with a standing ovation and slowly it became a more interactive experience, with a live Q&A session, arm-wrestles with Ross and lots of heart-pumping, muscle-bulging laughter. 
Arnie had extraordinary presence. You could palpably feel that the audience was in awe. Parts of what he spoke about were quite emotional, because of his honesty. You’d think someone who has been THE visual power-house, THE action man, THE politician couldn’t possibly be authentic. Preconceptions can be True Lies. He was beautifully open.
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Ross didn’t say much throughout Arnie’s initial storytelling. It began as a virtual monologue, because he’s done so much and by ’eck he knows how to talk. He was watchable, humorous, funny, obviously attractive, but a little sweaty on the big screens - possibly having just sprinted from California, so we’ll forgive him at the age of 67.
Arnie talked about his start in life and “wanting to be a body man”,yet by the time he was The Terminator, realised he didn’t have to keep taking his clothes off. Only 500 press-ups at lunch-time while the rest of us are chillin’ at Costa Coffee. And then a political Governor of course. It doesn’t come much more eclectic or fascinating than this.  
One drop-side to the event: I work in such spaces as the Westbourne Suite at Lancaster London Hotel on a daily basis, so I’d hoped not to be wedged into a conference chair with no room to exercise my biceps. People were tightly crammed. I therefore chose to watch the show with the production team at the rear of the room, sensing how they reacted to such an important night, and they dealt with various changes brilliantly. I’m a naughty reviewer/producer, but also nice. Musical act Cosmic Sect jumped on stage when required and were supermen.
The stage had two large projection screens which could have had slightly tidier surrounding edges and there were added 60-inch plasmas for those who weren’t sufficiently close to His Muscles and Wossy. The interviews happened mid-stage, with a retro drawing (or should I say dwawing?) room feel: standing lamps and studded armchairs, aiming to be intimate and re-create a Wossy-style TV studio set. 
I’d be giving you a Raw Deal to suggest that the whole evening was awesome because I was hoping for him to go Commando. But in “breaking the rules and not the law”, I did find him inspiring and I could become a Predator.  More of these events from Rocco Buonvino please and big thanks to Show Manager Chaz DaBat for letting producer-cum-reviewer Kate loiter with the very strong production team. Even if Arnie isn’t, I’ll be (at the) back. 

Reviewed on 15th November 2014 at Lancaster London Hotel by Kate Braxton. Pictures Yui Mok/PA


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Thanks for this review, Kate. Sounds like an interesting evening. I'd be interested to hear if Lancaster London run similar events in the furture.
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