What better way to commemorate the end of the short run of shows The Lord of the Rings musical had here in Toronto than a review of the one I saw in August?
I went to a Sunday matinee viewing of the musical at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Even at the end of its run, or perhaps because of the end of its run, the place was still packed.
The show was incredible. I really don’t understand all the bad media it collected. The sound and light was stunning; the constantly evolving stage was fascinating. The songs were all catchy and well-written (only one or two were less engaging). My only qualms were that the travel scenes, where the hobbits wandered around moving scenery, were slightly confusing; and the digital moving images projected onto the main stage scenery was pixelated (a jarring experience when staring directly at it).
As for the acting, the only badly done lines were by some of the hobbits with minor roles. The rest of the actors did very good jobs of either staying true to the movie character, or creating their own interpretations. Gollum, for example, was nothing like Gollum in the movie – but he was still really well-acted, and had his own flare. I enjoyed how he kept flopping around onto his back and sides like a fish.
It’s definitely not a show for someone who doesn’t know the story; it assumes you have some knowledge of the events that pass, by either excluding them completely or alluding to them with a line or two. In some cases, there were even further explanations of situations that I had been unable to glean from the films.
I’d the say that The Lord of the Rings musical, as a standalone show completely disconnected from the rest of the recent LOTR culture, I don’t think it would have much to stand on. However, it is an excellent addition to the rest of the media surrounding the story, and fits in well within that context.