"In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit." With these words JRR Tolkien
began a saga that would encapture the minds and hearts of many generations
of people. The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings have been among the most
popular books of the century and have inspired artists, songwriters, poets
and now film-makers to turn Tolkien's fantastical middle earth into reality.
For a long time Tolkien's world remained in the minds of the readers, the
way Tolkien prefered it. However it was bound to be brought to life sooner
or later. Many Tolkien inspired paintings, sketches, songs, poems and even
audio tapes have since been produced each adding their own little bit to
Middle Earth. Although until now Tolkien's world has not been brought to
life by an audio/visual production. (Ok so there was the animated LOTR but
that didn't complete the whole story).
Company Skylark's stage play of "The Hobbit" is a wonderfully enchanting
experience that sweeps you away. When I first learnt that it was on I almost
jumped for joy (being such a fan of the tale). When I went to see it, the
place was packed and it was soon standing room only!. I grabbed my seat
right in the centre and settled back to watch and I was not disappointed.
Initially I thought that puppets couldn't possibly portray this world but I
was pleasently surprised with what I saw. Each of the puppets are
beautifully detailed and there are over 75 in the play. The actual
pre-production of this took over 7 years. After watching for a little while
the puppets seem to stop being puppets and become actual Hobbits and
Dwarves, Orks and Dragons.
The story unfolds over two parts which takes the viewer into this wonderful
world to follow these travelers. The climax with Smaug is awesome with
children in the theatre being scared stiff by the huge puppet (I'd say 6
metres high and at least 15 wide).
Overall this is well worth going to see, Tolkien fan or not. It is about to
reopen in Australia before going to New Zealand and then in 2001 it will be
on Broadway. I hope you take yourselves along to see it and have the time of