Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lord of the Rings

We are now Oop North, in Lincolnshire, and I have got a cold. Our week in London was terrific: usually when we go there it's only for a few days and we never get to see anything, but this time we were in full tourist mode and we still didn't get to see a fraction of what's on offer.

BetterArf was determined that we should see at least one West End show, but the so-called 'half-price' tickets booths around Leicester Square seemed to only have the more expensive tickets at half-price, and half of £100 is way too much for our budget. On our last full day, she went direct to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and bought the cheapest tickets for Lord of the Rings. These were on the front row of the balcony - you had to lean forward over the parapet to actually see the stage.

When we arrived for the show we headed to the downstairs bar and ordered 3 glasses of wine plus another 3 for the interval. 'Thirty six pounds', said the barman in all seriousness. Ouch! We climbed the stairs to the balcony (no lift!) and realised that we would have to repeat the performance during the interval to get our extremely expensive drinks. Fortunately there is a little bar beside the balcony and the ushers very kindly arranged for the drinks to be delivered there.

The entire front half of the theatre was decked out like a forest, with branches extending in front of the boxes and across the ceiling. This production was originally staged in Toronto, but has been revamped, rewritten and partially re-cast for the London season. The design, lighting and special effects were all stupendous, but some of the actors were a bit naff. The plot and characterization were, of course, lousy (blame Tolkein), but on the whole it was a really good show. It's worth seeing just for the revolving stage with segments that can be raised and lowered independently, and for the flying elves and bouncing orcs. If the Theatre Royal can sort out the a/c and install a lift for the balcony, I'd be very happy to see the show again.

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