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March 25, 2006

Musical Version of "Lord Of The Rings" "Largely Incomprehensible"

Well of course it is. It's a 1500 page book condensed into a several hour performance, with singing and dancing eating up precious minutes.

Who thought this was a good idea? Is there a big overlap between musical lovers and Tolkein geeks? It calls the mind the old Onion article about dorkwads and gaywads forming a wad alliance.

Which, of course, can never happen. Dorkwads and gaywads are hopelessly divided on key issues, like bathing and personal grooming (whether or not to).

The "Lord of the Rings" musical, touted as the most expensive stage production yet, met mixed reviews on Friday as critics applauded its leaping orcs and menacing dark riders, but got lost in the tangled plots of Middle Earth. The 55-strong cast slipped into 500 costumes and engaged in fight scenes and acrobatics atop a 40-ton, computer-controlled stage floor featuring 17 elevators, which spun and rose amid magic and illusion.

For all the feverish activity at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre, the show based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy drew only one standing ovation in more than three hours, but many in the audience called it breathtaking and spectacular.

The C$28 million ($24 million U.S.) show's technology was of little help to a "largely incomprehensible" musical version of Tolkien's masterpiece, said Ben Brantley of The New York Times, one of several out-of-town critics who flew to Toronto to see the show that is expected to move on to London and Broadway.

"Everyone and everything winds up lost in this ... adaptation of Tolkien's cult-inspiring trilogy of fantasy novels," Brantley said. "That includes plot, character and the patience of most ordinary theatergoers."

Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times said, "Pity the production can't be judged exclusively on its design, it would be roundly considered a hit."

Some liked it, though:

But he added that despite the show's shortcomings and desperate need to be cut, "The good news for investors is that commercially the project will surely pay off.

...

Time magazine declared the show a "definitive megamusical" while the Times of London branded it "A stirring triumph of theatrical magic." "With some fine tuning, this tale could hold its audience in total thrall," wrote the Times' Sam Marlowe.

Good Lord. First Spamelot, now this. Geeks have invaded Broadway.

Coming soon -- Your Collection Of Old Avengers Comic Books And Steve Austin Action Figures -- The Musical.

Thanks to Craig.


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posted by Ace at 04:18 PM

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