Americans may want to renew their passports: the Lord of the Rings is coming to the stage in Toronto, and the first reports are good.
London was the first choice of the producer but it had no stage big enough for the complicated scenery.
The Globe and Mail reports:
The gnarled forests of Middle Earth thrust out to embrace the audience. The automated, cantilevered stage turns, twists, rises, falls and tilts in myriad and extraordinary ways -- at one moment, a winding forest path, the next, a soaring battlefield promontory, while wind and smoke swirl through the auditorium. Menacing orcs leap and tumble like pre-historic Raptors.
A dozen Ents --14-feet-high humanoid trees (actors on stilts) -- conduct a council of the forest.
Frodo and his fellow Hobbits run in fear of the ominous Black Riders. Michael Therriault is Gollum made animate, a writhing, wheezing, gymnastic incarnation of creepiness. The music -- jointly composed by the Finnish folk ensemble Varttina and India's A.R. Rahman -- owes more to opera than musical theatre, an almost continuous score that includes lush ballads, a rollicking drinking number (at the Prancing Pony Inn), a powerful anthem song, as well as the stirring, discordant strains of the battlefield.
Indeed, the show's sets, lighting (designed by Paul Pyant) and special effects (by Graham Meeh and Paul Kieve) were mentioned by many theatregoers as the single most stunning aspect of the production.
The Lord of the Rings Symphony has also been successful around the country and has attracted a young audience.