Most North American critics rounded on the stage version of Tolkien’s classic

Most North American critics rounded on the stage version of Tolkien’s classic, but I reckon I’ll be proved right. When The Lord of the Rings musical – reportedly the most expensive history – flopped badly Toronto last year, producer didn’t take it particularly gracefully. After talking up the Canadian city the run-up to the opening, suddenly told us what he really thought. Frankly, I believe that if the same critics had seen it at the National Theatre London, they would have embraced it, he said at a press conference, where he impoliticly blamed certain critics by name for the production’s closing. Its spiritual home is the London theatre. This sniffing condescension didn’t exactly endear to me or anybody involved North American theatre but, truth be told, I do think he have had a bit of a point. And I’m rooting for the revised Lord of the Rings play-musical-spectacle to take London Xavier Grimble Authentic Womens Jersey by storm when it opens on the West End next month. Admittedly, part of the reason why I’m hoping it succeeds here is for a personal critical vindication. Reviewing for the Boston Globe, I gave Lord of the Rings a mostly positive review, writing that it was a stage epic that is surprisingly smart and visually stunning, and does not feature Frodo singing Zach Mettenberger Authentic Womens Jersey about a few of his favorite rings. This put me absolutely out of step with the vast majority of the North American critics. The New York Times’ Ben Brantley was decidedly unimpressed, as were the reviewers for the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and. Canadian critics were equally harsh. In the Toronto, the largest-circulation paper Canada, Richard Ouzounian wrote, The problems with this version of The Lord of the Rings are basic that you wonder how those involved with it could watch it coming together and still not see what was wrong. On the other hand, the majority of the British critics who saw the show – which was masterminded by a British creative team including director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Darling – were kinder. The Stage’s Shenton was impressed by its scale, ambition and originality. One of the most positive reviews came from The Times’ Marlowe, who compared it favourably to ‘s movies. Cushman, a British expat who is the critic at Canada’s National Post, wrote the Guardian that the show spent its millions wisely. So does The Lord of the Rings musical, indeed, have a British sensibility? Was right to think that London is its spiritual home? Well, it’s debatable: at the Telegraph was just as disappointed the show as the North American critics were while there were a handful of Yanks and Canucks like me who praised it. But I think was right saying that it would have had better reviews if it had premiered at the subsidised National Theatre. Whether you reacted favourably to The Lord of the Rings seemed to come down to whether you thought the show was simply a cash grab or you felt it had larger artistic ambitions. Were its flaws sins of incompetence and crass commercialism or, as it appeared to me, over-reaching ambition? For instance, to some critics, the show had identity crisis; incompetently, it never properly decided if it was a musical or a play with music or a Cirque du Soleil-style spectacle. I, however, saw the flipside and admired it for trying to be its own thing and not being a cookie-cutter, conventional show despite its huge budget. The biggest flaw with the production was that it was too reverent to the vision set out by Tolkien’s sprawling books. It ballooned to five hours previews and then was slowly hacked down to three and a half hours by opening night, getting muddled the condensation. Notably, the climatic confrontation between Gollum and Frodo on top of Mount Doom was a mess. But there is much of the original production I’m looking forward to seeing when it re-opens here on 9: the charming performances of James Loye and Howe as Frodo and, whose friendship was the heart of the show; the show-stopping physical performance by Therriault as Gollum; and the ridiculously expensive and complex stage, which has more than a dozen parts that rotate and rise and fall and turn into mountains and castles, and atop which actors jump from platform to platform like some sort of live-action Super Mario Brothers. I do hope and company didn’t blame the critics and they have put the hard work to fix what didn’t work – after all, reputation is on the line here, too. We’ll see enough whether London is really the show’s spiritual home – or if the adage that you really can never go home again applies to theatre, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *