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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Rings musical heads for West End
The Lord of the Rings musical in Toronto
The musical has had a mixed reception from critics
The Lord of the Rings stage show will arrive in London next year, replacing Mel Brooks' musical The Producers in the West End.

Rings producer Kevin Wallace said the 12.5m show, which premiered in Toronto in March, will be among the most expensive to be staged in London.

The Producers closes on 9 January. The Lord of the Rings will preview from 9 May at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The Toronto version, which received mixed reviews, will be reworked.

The official opening night in London will take place on 19 June 2007.

Originally, the plan was to premiere the show in London but it had to be shelved as no suitable theatre was available for staging the production.

The Toronto show, based on JRR Tolkien's trilogy about a hobbit called Frodo and his quest to rid the land Middle-earth of evil, will be cut from three and a half to three hours.


The third act will also be rewritten.

"It's on a scale audiences would expect to see in somewhere like Las Vegas. It's not something audiences would expect to see in the West End," said Mr Wallace.

Some critics have praised Toronto's lavish production values but bemoaned its lack of depth.

"Innovative stage designs seamlessly carry the audience through transitions of mood and locale for this grand, mythic journey," said John McKay of Canada's National Post.

But the Globe and Mail was less enthusiastic: "All it needs is an engaging storytelling approach, an emotional arc, credible performances and a more coherent musical score.

"Unless The Lord of the Rings addresses these issues before it transfers to London's West End, it will remain a pale imitation of the books, the films and, tragically, theatre itself," wrote critic Kamal Al-Solaylee.

The show's script and lyrics are by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus, with music by Bollywood composer AR Rahman and Finnish folk group called Varttina.

Mr Wallace was confident that a London audience would be enthusiastic about the show.

"It probably does have a European sensibility, a British sensibility in terms of the use of text and the use of the spoken word. It's coming back to its spiritual home," he said.

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24 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
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23 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
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15 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
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21 Oct 03 |  Entertainment

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