Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Toronto Wasn't So Wrong After All

Well, the reviews are out in London and they pretty much match Toronto's reviews from last year.

The Lord of the Rings The Musical (don't laugh. Or actually. DO) opened in London England at Theatre Drury Lane and the Times and Guardian liked it (each giving 4/5 stars each) and the Telegraph , the Sun (the SUN? even the SUN didn't like it? now THAT'S a bad sign) and Independent did not like it. While I was trying to be positive about the show, my sentiments pretty much mirror The Daily Telegraph's review. It's not a bad show. Not like We Will Rock You. I liked it way more than Wicked and The Producers. Still, there were a TON of problems, the whole thing did NOT live up to expectations, especially in this day and age when we've all seen Cirque de Soleil and expect something that actually wows us. The music is decent, but not entirely hummable or memorable and the story is a complete mess. It's mildly entertaining but it felt like it should have been even grander, which at over 3 hours, is not a good sign.

So when the producers blamed Toronto critics and audiences for its demise last year (apparently we didn't "get it". Their words. Not mine), I wanted to see how the British press would react. So now that it looks pretty divided, I feel quite satisfied. Yes, Canadians weren't wrong on this. (But the need to prove that to the international world makes us so...well..., Canadian). Here's The Toronto Star's Richard Ouzounian's review of the new version where he compares the changes. (Check out Richard Ouzounian break the stuffy critic mould when he recounts Evil Dead The Musical from the Splatter Zone).

The good news is Michael Therriault as Gollum (above), the lone Canadian left in the production, is being singled out in most of the reviews as one of the (if only) best things in the production.

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