Theatre Breaks in London – Lord of the Rings – the musical? at Acting to Improve

Theatre Breaks in London – Lord of the Rings – the musical?

I suspect some old friends of mine might fancy taking theatre breaks in London to see this. I’m not sure if I’d want to or not.

When I was 12, for my birthday, my Dad gave me a hard back set of the three volumes of Tolkien’s classic. I’d already been primed with his old copy of The Hobbit so I knew the ways of the Shire, the charm of Hobbits, the humours of a certain wizard. I gobbled up the three books, wizzing through the first two at great speed, slowing down because I couldn’t stand the thought that they’d be over soon about half way through the third. I think it was just about a perfect read for me at that point, the next best book, that took me from children’s fiction to something a bit more meaty.

When I was a bit older, 18 or so, I was amazed to see friends lugging round the massive paperback version. I couldn’t understand why they’d want to read a ‘children’s book’ or why they didn’t know it already. It became an icon for many of my generations and that might explain the musical, but more of that later. As my daughter grew up I read her The Hobbit, well, really, we shared reading it, a chapter each, night after night. She loved it just as I had and I quite enjoyed re-visiting the characters and seeing them through her eyes. Then there was the BBC radio adaptation of Lord of the Rings. One of the afore-mentioned friends had taped the whole thing and we ploughed our way through it, every night for weeks. I got pretty bored with it and eventually lost interest.

When one of the 3 films came out I was dragged, protesting, to see it. There was another film on that I’d rather have seen. The tedium of the radio adaptation prepared me well for the film. I thought it was a giant turkey. What can I say? It was during my degree, I’d had a lot of late nights. At least I don’t think I snored, and they woke me up at the end :-)

So how on earth have they made a musical of it? It’s a bit like my old friend Brett’s idea of Paradise Lost on Ice! You have to wonder not only how but why? A morbid curiosity overcame me and I decided to see if I could find out.

So here’s a synopsis of the musical:

It starts at Bilbo’s eleventy first birthday party – Bag End shenanigans, singing and dancing hobbits.

He does his vanishing act

Fast forward to Rivendell – lots of pretty floating elvishness,

Arawen – very pretty elvishness, Frodo recovering from the stabbing (Do try to keep up – they don’t show it just sing about it!)

Enter Bilbo, Gandalf etc for a council of war, er, Council of Elrond.

There’s also a quick show down between Gandalf and Sauron at some point.

Dance number with orcs on springs – I kid you not!

Off to the Mines of Moria – dark, scary, with brave hobbits and Gandalf

Interval

Enter Ents on stilts – sounds entertaining (sorry:-))

Very quick version of the Battle of Hornburg with only about 10 orks.

More meandering around the plot, Shelob, Gollum, etc.

At one point orcs invade the audience – sounds fun

The ring gets destroyed in a big set piece

Final section – back to the Shire, that bit always makes me sad, a vision of what was obviously meant to be England overrun with baddies, tattered, it’s innocence destroyed.

Departure of the Elves and Gandalf for the Grey Havens- Gladariel gets to sing a long song. This bit is often thought to be meant to be sad in the book but it always felt to me like it is clearing the way for people to inhabit a real world.

I hear the sets and costumes are gorgeous, the singing very good but I’m just not convinced. Part of me is still curious though. Theatre breaks in London don’t have to be too expensive, it might just be worth it.

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