Friday, June 27, 2008

Lord of the Rings

A couple Saturdays ago, the 14th, I spent the day wandering around Greenwich and Canary Wharf with my friend Alice, taking photos. If you've been following my flickr account, you'll have seen those photos by now.
Later that evening, we went to the Royal Drury Lane Theatre to watch a show, the Lord of the Rings musical! We got front row tickets in the Grand Circle, the first level above the ground floor, so we had an awesome view. When we walked in, we saw that the backdrop of the stage was a giant golden ring, with tree branches thickly growing all around it, and coming around the sides of the theatre to cover most of the boxes.
A bit before the show was scheduled to start, a bunch of Hobbits came out on stage, probably about 10-15 of them, some of them with nets on long poles. In the air high above the stage danced little lights, fireflies, that the Hobbits tried (and succeeded) at catching with their nets. After they had caught and bottled a bunch of these fireflies, they shook up the jar and let them free, whereupon they flew through the ring and danced around behind the backdrop, while the Hobbits broke out in dance on the stage.
When the show actually began, it started with Bilbo's long awaited party, for his eleventyfirst birthday, at which he puts on the ring and disappeared! And he disappeared from on stage, just like that. It was pretty cool.
The stage itself was very very cool. Set into the floor was a giant turntable, which was split into a whole bunch of pieces, each of which could raise and lower independently. They used this to make stairways, or valleys, or rough rocky areas that Sam and Frodo stumbled through and climbed up. It was incredibly well done.

I don't remember what part of the show it was, but Aragorn came down out aisle and was shouting down to the people on stage. It was the only time he did that, and it was right next to us, as we were at the front row of the balcony, on the edge of the aisle.
At one point in the show, the activity on the stage died down, and orcs began roaming the aisles, snorting and grunting in people's faces. Their face makeup was great, horribly disgusting, and we could hear screams and squeals from all over the theatre. This went on for a few minutes, with quiet drum beating background music, and then suddenly BANG! And half the women in the theatre screamed. It was fantastic. :)
Gollum was great, doing lots of jumpy skittery sneaky Gollum moves. The Ents were also really cool, guys on stilts with all sorts of stuff on them so they looked like trees. When Gandalf fell on the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, the Balrog was really great. It was huge, and it grew up taller and taller from behind the "bridge" they had transformed the stage into, and as it roared at Gandalf, all sorts of bits of black paper was blown out from it, really adding to the effect.

It was so totally worth it, I had a grand time. I've been wanting to hear that since I first heard about it years ago, when Sara was thinking about auditioning for the one in Toronto. I'm glad I finally got to go see it.

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