The Hobbit based on the book by J. R. R.Tolkien Adapted by Kim Selody

Dates and Venue 11 April – 3 May 2008 | The Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island

Director Jack Paterson Composer Jeff Tymoschuk Fight Choreographer Nick Harrison Choreographer Melissa Young Sets Al Frisk Mask and Costumes Jay Havens Lighting Itai Erdal Sound Jeff Tymoschuk Stage Manager Danielle Fecko

Reviewer Jane Penistan

Carousel Theatre does it again. When you enter the auditorium you enter a magic world. There in front of you on stage is a wonderful back drop inviting you to go through the keyhole doorway of the Hobbit’s house into the new world that lies beyond.

And what a world. Itai Erdal lights its wonders and dangers with fantastic starlight, cave light, firelight and sunlight, all glittering and changing and producing weird and wonderful shadows and illusions.
This enchanting world is peopled by a colourfully dressed narrator, Old Took, a wizard, dwarves, elves, birds, goblins, spiders, a dragon, and a Master Archer.

Gandalf, the wizard, (Craig Erickson) persuades Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit, (Kristian Ayre) to help the dwarves retrieve their plundered treasure from the lair of the dragon, Smaug. Reluctantly, he agrees to leave his comfortable home to the join the adventure. In the company of dwarves he sets off to the land of the King under the Mountain, now laid desolate by the ravages of the dragon, Smaug, who guards the treasure in his cave under the Lonely Mountain.

Their journey takes them through many trials, tribulation, and deprivations, not to mention escapes from death by the ingenuity of the Hobbit.

The modest Bilbo Baggins is delicately played by Kristian Ayre with graceful, well managed underplaying, which contrasts artistically with the more flamboyant and forceful characters of Thorin (Stephano Giulianetti) and the belligerent and noisy goblins and the threatening deep-voiced dragon Smaug (Craig Erickson), who breathes fire, terror and destruction as he guards his hoard of precious artifacts and gold.

Kim Selody has used a narrator, Old Took, to keep the story flowing and coherent as Baggins and his friends traverse the unknown country. Old Took explains who the enemies and friends of the travelers are, and their part in the plot.

Stately Tamara McCarthy fulfills this role commandingly, besides quick changing into a variety of other charming or grotesque beings as needed. Others in the cast play multiple roles, each one clearly defined and with its own characteristics.

The ingenuity of the movement and miming of the production is of a high calibre. The physical scenes are well choreographed and meticulously drilled and controlled, so that they add to the enjoyment of the story telling with out being distracting.

Jack Paterson has been well served by his associates and crews, as well as his actors, but it is his intellectual vision and direction of the piece that has produced this presentation that keeps a young audience spellbound throughout the performance.

On the opening night there were times between the laughter when you could hear a pin drop, so entranced were all the children and their seniors.

© 2008 Jane Penistan