I read with interest this week that the Hunger Games films are set to become a stage show. I immediately scoffed at the prospect of yet another film being turned into a theatre show and wrote it off within the first minute of finishing the article.
However, it then got me thinking back to the time I saw The Lord Of The Rings: The Musical when I was a student in 2007. A friend and I had been trying to get day seats to Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth but had been turned away quite unceremoniously by the box office staff (apparently we were crazy to think day seats would be available!) so we started trawling the West End to try and get a cheap seat for any show going. We chanced upon the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and managed to secure £20 front row seats to The Lord Of The Rings:The Musical.
We settled down in Row A and braced ourselves for an absolute turkey. I think it’s fair to say the script was pretty weak and, having never been much of a fan of the genre at the best of times, the way the three books were condensed into three hours felt like you were trying to get through all plot-lines at a lightning pace. However, the sheer spectacle of it – the set, the acrobatic performers, the revolving stage that you thought Galadriel might fall off in her platform shoes – was unlike anything I had ever seen before. There seemed to be a cast of thousands, all of whom appeared to be able to do the most impressive physical tricks and the big budget spectacle of sounds, lighting and projection was totally mesmerising. You almost forgot you were watching Hobbits trying to sing!.
Actually one of my favourite musical numbers comes from this show, it’s a song by Galadriel sung by Laura Michelle Kelly and was just stunning to see and hear live, link here.
My friend and I both came out of the theatre three hours later and both concluded that actually, all things considered, it had been pretty good! It certainly hadn’t got the pretensions of some of the other big musicals in the West End and we felt like we’d had quite good bang for our buck (which I suppose we should have done considering it was the most expensive show ever staged in the West End!)
Sadly the Lord Of The Rings closed early amid dwindling audiences and very mixed reviews. It was a shame but somewhat inevitable as the audiences who went expecting the film would be disappointed, the West End tourist audience would probably rather see Les Mis (nothing wrong with that) and the theatre buffs like yours truly would immediately scoff at the idea of even staging it in the first place.
So with this in mind, I will try and reign in my eye rolling about the Hunger Games. Once again I’ve not seen any of the films, though I have a general idea of the plotline, and once again I can smell the turkey wafting from the wings but I shall hold back on trashing it until I’ve got myself a front row day seat!