Sunday, September 03, 2006

LOTR on stage: I *wanted* to love it . . .

Saw the musical stage production - days before it closed in Toronto to make it's London debut. I'm not even sure what to say about it... I wanted to love it. I loved some of it. I liked most of it. I'm glad I saw it (reasons later), but must ask "What the hell were the producers thinking?" Come on you 'experienced-show-business-people'! You can't put a 9 pound bag of flour into a 3 1/2 pound jar and not make a mess! Did they really think they could take a complex 3-novel series, 9-hour-movie and do it justice by cramming it into a 3 1/2 hour stage production? Even the conversion from book to movie lost a few scenes!
So what we had was an extremely complex, confusing abridgment, set to music. I read the books (twice), saw the triple-feature (a few times) and couldn't figure out how anyone who doesn't share my particular obsession with Tolkien could follow the plot.
Now for the good stuff: The actors were all very talented and did an amazing job despite the confusion, the singing and music was hauntingly lovely -- although there were no songs looping through my head afterwards, like after seeing Les Mis, Rent, Chicago or Phantom.
The sets, OH THE SETS! The scenery was absolutely magnificent. Magical! Fantastical!! My head is still trying to wrap around the complexities of the multi-level rotating stage, the amazing use of lights and 'things' coming down from the sky (my theatre lingo is obviously limited), and how on earth they created the most magical realm of Lothlorien right before my very eyes. It was worth the outrageous ticket price for that alone. The Ents (Treebeard) were favorites, as was Gollum (Smeagol), who ultimately stole the show.
Upon reflection - they should have done a play 'BASED ON' the LOTR, and they probably would have had a hit.
I also wonder why they didn't they do 'The Hobbit' instead? It was shorter book and included almost the same cool characters, a fun adventurous story and would have been a perfect compliment to the LOTR movie. Would someone in Hollywood/Broadway/Rockstar Land, PLEASE read my blog for sound advice from the public? I'm not arrogant enough to think I could run Entertainment-Land, but I'd make a DAMN GOOD CONSULTANT!

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