Yeah, yeah yeah…it’s the biggest thing to happen to Toronto’s theatre scene since whenever.
Huge, gorgeous sets. Little, teeny (okay not so teeny—they are taller than 5’) Hobbits. Beautifully crafted costumes. Original script and score. Big, scary monsters. An insanely huge budget.
The Fussy Eater, Annette and I made the long, wet journey to Toronto, met up with Jen and KW to see the latest Mirvish spectacle (pronounced spec-tackle), a musical adaptation of J.R.R Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings.
Two thoughts battled for dominance when Jen and I renewed our subscriptions last year: LOTR is going to be amazing…or…LOTR is going to be amazingly awful. Hey, I have to be honest: anytime when someone decides to take a well-known and widely-loved story that’s been turned into half-a-day’s worth of cinematic popcorn munching and turn it into a 3.5 hour musical, I have to wonder.
The sets were absolutely amazing—gorgeous, well-designed and functional. The lighting designer created the most amazing effects. Costuming was beautiful. The special effects (especially the Balrog) were so incredibly well done. Some of the actors—specifically the ones who performed on stilts and springy thing—left me thinking “how are they doing that?” I think the stand-out performance (for brilliance) was Michael Therriault as Gollum.
There are some not-so-great, if not awful bits: CHORAL DICTION PEOPLE! Imbalanced sound (too much orchestra, not enough vocal), overly-directional mic-ing, pedantic scripting and of course the chick who plays Galadriel should turn in her crown at the stage door and go back to doing really bad Christina Aguilera karaoke. I’m serious.
But this is not a theatre blog. It is a food blog. Which raises the question:
Where's the food?
Here’s the way I look at it. Hobbits seem to have this inability to go no more than a couple of hours without eating—JRR himself lists six meals: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea and supper—which is perfectly reasonable…yes, I am part Hobbit. Couple this with the years and years this story spans (Gandalf spends that time researching the ring), you’d think there’d be more food on stage.
Granted, there are the pub scenes…but what else? I mean, if I were going on such a mission, I’d be filling my rucksack with bacon and fruit and cheese and everything else in my confession for the You Are What You Eat Meme. Maybe I lost it in all the figure-eights the cast ran on stage, but I don’t remember the Hobbits packing so much as an apple.
Poor little things.
At least Peter Jackson got it right and we saw sausages being fried up on mountains, pieces of fruit pelted at Pip and baskets of roast chickens floating in the flooded tower.
How on Middle Earth did our heroes survive without even a day’s worth of food to tuck into?
Okay…the real question is how did *I* survive a 3.5 show without a snack?
Answer: Knowing LOTR The Musical reputation for being really, really long, I put a chocolate-mint doughnut a la Tims in my purse before I left…just in case. At second intermission, spectacle-goers looked at me after I hobbled out and snarfled down a very flat doughnut, but I didn’t care. I was hungry (and given those seats were going for $120 each, you’d think that the Mirvishes would have had a little snack for us—just a little one. A Hobbit-sized one)—and a hungry, tired and achy Jasmine is just not fun…
Anyway, the production is still being tweaked, so maybe the producers or directors will figure out a way to get more Hobbity food on stage.
I hope so.
Three and a half hours is an awfully long time to go without a snack.
Before the nonsense: 44 cups; 3 free coffees, 1 free doughnut
Now: 43 cups, 7 free coffees