It is with interest that I read about the Lord of the Rings musical’s reviews on Slashdot:
“The latest incarnation of The Lord of the Rings is here in the form of musical theatre and, as reported by Yahoo News, the reviews are not good. The Toronto production puts less emphasis on plot, character, and music, and concentrates more on hi-tech theatrics. The production uses a 40-ton, computer controlled stage with 17 elevators and the cast of 55 goes through 500 costumes in the 3 hour performance. Despite this, the same critics say it will be a big money-maker.”
I find this interesting as a few years ago I attended a much smaller production of The Hobbit. That was a musical as well and in my opinion was really rather good. Tolkien’s writings lend themselves well to musical adaptation because they contain a number of ballads and songs that the characters sing to themselves or recall to remind themselves of Middle Earth’s history – which as envisioned by Tolkien is largely an oral history.
It may be a sign of the times, but I always remember the Lord of the Rings book as being on a decidedly smaller scale than Peter Jackson’s films. Now it’s not that I don’t like them or that I’m one of these people who think he ruined the story, but the books really do give you a more personal experience. Maybe that’s there the stage play went wrong – they aimed for Jackson when then should have been aiming for Tolkien. Still if it ever reaches the UK then I’ll probably make a point of checking it out.