This production, adapted by Glyn Robbins and directed by Roy Marsden was first performed at Wimbledon Theatre in Oct 99 and then The Queens theatre in Oct 2000. J.R.R Tolkien’s enchanting tale has now returned to the Queens Theatre and what a delightful production it is.
This classic story, set in Middle Earth, follows Gandalf the Sorcerer as he leads Bilbo Baggins and his Dwarf companions off on a frightening but magical journey to hunt for the powerful hidden treasure that simply must be found and given back to its rightful owners.
On their journey they have to travel through Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, through wind, rain, hail and tremendous thunderstorms. They have to fight gourmandising Trolls, vicious Goblins, avaricious wolves, spiteful Giant Spiders and Smaug, the deadly dragon, the guardian of the treasure they seek.
Bilbo starts off as a misfit amongst this group of adventurers and at first the dwarfs wonder why Gandalf has chosen him to be their companion. However, as the story develops so does Bilbo’s courage and character. By the end of the play he is himself an adventurer, an adventurer with the ‘magic’ ring, which Gollum lost. (Thus the plot is set for Tolkien's Fantasy trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”.) Daniel Copeland captures this change in Bilbo wonderfully and watching him develop the character from a cowardly and confused Hobbit into a brave hero is in itself magical.
The show has a creepy set design by David Shields that captures the atmosphere and illusion of this fantasy fable. And with some terrific costumes by Abigail Hammond it sure is a charming show that children and adults a like will enjoy.
Lasting just over two and half hours there is not a dull moment as the pace of the show never wavers as each spellbinding character is revealed at each step of the journey.
Daniel Copeland produces a fine performance as Bilbo Baggins, and William Byrne is credible as Thorin, the king-in-exile. However, I was not convinced by Phillip Joseph as Gandalf, I thought he played it too posh! But, generally the whole company performed professionally.
Notices from the popular press....PATRICK MARMION says, "All in all, it's certainly an endearing show, but not what you'd call The Hobbit of a lifetime. " GERALD BERKOWITZ for THE STAGE says, "Inventive and entertaining, with a satisfying air of the fabulous and appropriate touches of both wit and sentiment."
With singing, line dancing, funny and scary characters and a captivating fantasy story this is a perfect show for all the family this Christmas.
Links to full reviews from newspapers...