Children’s Theatre Company’s World Premiere of The Hobbit is onstage now through April 14th. My family and I were looking forward to this one, as we love J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. I did read The Hobbit a number of years ago but have not yet read the Lord of the Rings books in full (though of course we’ve seen the movies).
It’s based on the well-known novel by J.R.R. Tolkien and was adapted for the stage and directed by Greg Banks, with music by Thomas Johnson. There are only five cast members (and two musicians):
- Joy Dolo (Gandalf, Bombur, Troll, Gollum, Elven King, Ensemble)
- H. Adam Harris (Kili, Troll, Smaug, Ensemble)
- Becca Hart (Balin, Troll, Bard, Ensemble)
- Acting Company member Dean Holt (Bilbo Baggins)
- Acting Company Member Reed Sigmund (Dwalin, Thorin, Spider, Ensemble)
- Plus two musicians: Victor Zupanc and Bill Olson as the onstage musicians.
The Hobbit at Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the familiar story so many love but in terms of spectacle, it is the polar opposite of the Peter Jackson-directed movie that came out in 2013. Instead of computer animation and actors galore, it was minimalist with only the five actors and two musicians, and a set that didn’t change at all, except in lighting.
My favorite two actors, Dean Holt and Reed Sigmund, starred as two of the five actors. Holt played Bilbo and was also the narrator, and Sigmund played Thorin and several other characters. Joy Dolo, H. Adam Harris, and Becca Hart were all a great fit together with Holt and Sigmund. The talent was unbeatable, which is not a surprise from Children’s Theatre Company.
Here’s what The Hobbit is about:
Our unlikely hero, Bilbo Baggins, would much rather be sitting in his cozy Hobbit Hole with a cup of tea and a plate of bacon and eggs. However, he somehow finds himself on a magically mystical adventure. Staged with speed and surprises, you’ll be delighted as things change before your very eyes. Discover what happens as Bilbo travels on an epic journey over freezing mountains and a frightening forest, meeting all sorts of fierce creatures—some who want to eat him, others who turn into dear friends.
The whole performance was about 2 hours with a 20-minute intermission. For younger kids, I’d say it was a bit long and over their heads. It took a lot of imagination to follow what was happening with the story, and it was probably confusing for some kids when the actors suddenly went from playing one role to playing another. Based on all of that, I’d say that The Hobbit is probably best for ages 10 and up. Their website says for 8 and up – it was fitting for our 11-year-old but our 8-year-old was a bit young for it; however, all kids are different. Maybe yours are younger and would enjoy it more.
The music in the show was pleasant and fitting, but unforgettable. It seemed a bit out of place but I appreciated the overall style of the performance.
There weren’t many funny parts, but we did laugh out loud when the trolls were ready to eat some of the audience (heads-up if you sit in the front row).
Overall, it was a creative and enjoyable performance, and I liked that it encouraged the audience to use their imagination, which movies and other media don’t do very much nowadays. But I will admit there was a part of me that was craving more special effects and a stage full of actors. Either way, you’ll enjoy The Hobbit.
The Hobbit runs March 12th – April 14th, 2019.
They have some special performances coming up:
ASL/AD Performance: Friday, April 5 at 7pm
Sensory Friendly Performance: Friday, April 12 at 7pm
Game Nights: Table top, RPG, other game nights beginning at 5:30pm ahead of Thursday evening performances (exception: Preview). See CTC’s Facebook for complete information.
For more information:
(Disclosure: We were provided with 2 complimentary tickets to the show to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine.)