I recently attended a school-group performance of Wheelock Family Theatre’s rendition of the age-old Tolkien classic The Hobbit. Having read The Hobbit and seen all Lord of The Rings movies and the first Hobbit movie, it was hard not having unrealistic expectations.
I was pleasantly surprised. The actors were good. I especially liked the portrayal of Bilbo Baggins, (Andrew Barbato) and his unique mannerisms and facial expressions which prompted many laughs from the audience of school children. Most dwarves were played by children, which I think was a good choice, though in some lines the supposed “dwarf” accent was a little off. It was exciting to see that many children involved in the production. The stage combat could use some improvement-- the sword-fighting scenes seemed a little slow and unconvincing. You may be wondering, what about the iconic character of Gollum? Well, does the actor compare to a computer generated figure in the multi-million dollar Hollywood hit? Of course not. But for a human being with costume limitations he effectively conveyed the slimy, half-human character. An adorable ensemble of younger children as hobbits and spiders was a fun touch as well, though the three trolls were my personal favorite- very true to the book with good “troll voices” and just as hilarious.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would definitely recommend seeing this production if you get the chance, though I think those who have read The Hobbit will better understand the story. Overall, kudos to the director and actors for an exemplary performance.
The Hobbit plays through November 24th 2013 at Wheelock Family Theater in Boston, MA. Tickets can be purchased through their website.