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THE HOBBIT – ALEXANDRA THEATRE

01-04-2010

Gandalf

The Hobbit remains one of the best-loved fantasy novels of all time. And as Terry Wills explains, it loses nothing in its latest stage adaptation.

An admission. Before seeing this production I knew little, or in effect, nothing, about a story that has gone to capture and spellbind audiences to the extent that it’s enjoyed three National Tours and two major seasons in THE West End.

I was aware that it was a fantasy tale incorporating the adventures of Mr. Bilbo Baggins but that was the sole extent of my knowledge - shame on me!

Bilbo is a Hobbit, living a quiet contented life on Middle Earth, who suddenly out of the blue finds himself chosen by Gandalf, a sorcerer, and Thorin Oakenshield, an exiled king, to accompany them in their attempt to make a perilous dangerous journey back to Erebor. Should it be successful it will allow Thorin to reclaim what he considers is his rightful kingdom and the treasures to which he’s entitled.

They set out and along the way encounter a variety of mysterious creature, some friendly but in the main evil. Azog, a great goblin, Beorn, a skin changer- a giant spider - and the most fearsome of all Smaug, a huge, monstrous, fire-eating dragon. In truth that’s all the audience need to know simply because the perilous adventure is interspersed by fights, flashing lights, and loud explosion that add much to the storyline.

Lovers of JRR Tolkien’s work will almost certainly themselves engrossed in this theatrical production. A prequel to the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy that sell in their thousands on a worldwide basis and have subsequently been transferred, with great success, into major cinema’s offerings.

The all-male cast play their parts with conviction. Peter Howe as the Hobbit is rarely off stage. Christopher Robbie as Gandalf is an impressive leader, while Andrew Coppin, the Exiled King is impressive as he strives to regain what he considers to be his rightful domain.

Certainly an impressive production despite the obvious constraints of the action taking place within the confines of a stage, as opposed to what can be achieved courtesy of film and television technical wizardry.

The Hobbit runs until 3rd April.

www.alexandratheatre.org.uk/

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