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Friday, December 14, 2007

Lord of the Rings 

I am unbelievably tired!

We had a company conference for the past couple of days which started at 9am on Wednesday and at 8.15am yesterday so I had to be up earlier to make sure I was in on time. Obviously, were I able to rely on the train service I could have got my normal train for day one but I didn’t feel able to trust it to be there and run to time.

The conference ended yesterday lunchtime and we switched to our Christmas party. I didn’t get that drunk, although you wouldn’t think so from the pictures, but I was feeling rather rough this morning and still tired. I’ve done nothing but yawn all afternoon.

As part of this Christmas’s entertainment, we saw Lord of the Rings, the musical. I wasn’t too impressed. The set, the wire-work and the lighting were brilliant but the acting, singing, dancing and dodgily edited script let it down a lot. Some of that was perhaps in part down to us coming for the matinee when most of the cast had been replaced by understudies.

However, it was over-choreographed to my mind. The elves had a habit of waving their arms and heads around in a vaguely Madonna-Vogue style whenever they spoke. For instance: “welcome to Loth” – twist head sharply – “lorien”. Another instance was during the final battle between the men and the forces of Sauron which seemed to be one of those pop-video dance-off things with swords and had me laughing from the off.

There were too many bloody songs! I know it’s a musical but there seemed to be a one song every five minutes rule. There was an annoying elf woman who sang in every scene nearly. Atmospheric, yes, necessary, no.

I did like the frequent breaching of the fourth wall. Gandalf’s end of act one battle with the dragon sent all sorts of stuff into the audience causing the many many children to scream. They screamed as well when the Orcs wandered around in the second interval and when the Hobbits looked for glow-worms before the show started. Honestly, how can you be frightened of Hobbits?

I particularly enjoyed the Orcs when they targeted a group of three young girls who had chatted all through the first half and who we reported to their teacher (evil, eh?).

Large chunks of the script seemed to have been clumsily edited out. At the end of one scene, for instance, Gandalf was imprisoned by Saruman but was inexplicably free a few scenes later but offered a very glib explanation (“I was freed by some magical creatures”).

The stage itself was a marvel with bits rising and falling all over the place, suggesting walls, a forest, and all manner of different sets. The wire-work was similarly excellent: Gollum’s entrance climbing down a wall face-down was incredible as was a swimming scene and the elves floating around in the air. A lot of stilt work was used and was impressive: the Dark Riders and the Ents would not have been half as impressive otherwise.

Despite the clever stuff, I won’t be tempted to see it again. Unusual for me.

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