An immersive, musical production of The Lord of the Rings is underway at Newbury's The Watermill Theatre beginning July 25. Playing the U.K. theatre through October 15, The Lord of the Rings is an adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy featuring a book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus, and music by A.R. Rahman (Bombay Dreams, Slumdog Millionaire), Värttinä, and Christopher Nightingale (Matilda the Musical).
Taking place across Watermill's auditorium and gardens, the story is set on Bilbo Baggins' eleventy-first birthday when Bilbo gives Frodo a gold ring. It then follows Frodo on the daunting and perilous task of journeying across Middle Earth to save them all from the Dark Lord Sauron. Audiences join an ensemble cast and large-scale puppets on the story about the power of friendship and the common good.
The company for The Lord of the Rings stars Folarin Akinmade as Gimli, Matthew Bugg as Gollum, Geraint Downing as Merry, Peter Dukes as Boromir, Amelia Gabriel as Pippin, Tom Giles as Elrond/Saruman, Charlotte Grayson as Rosie, Nuwan Hugh Perera as Sam, Georgia Louise as Galadriel, Peter Marinker as Gandalf, Louis Maskell as Frodo, Aoife O’Dea as Arwen, John O’Mahony as Bilbo, Yazdan Qafouri as Legolas, and Aaron Sidwell as Aragorn.
The ensemble features Sioned Saunders as the onstage music director and Bridget Lappin as dance captain alongside Reece Causton, Kelly Coughlin, and Elliot Mackenzie.
The September 22 performance, the day of Bilbo Baggins’ fictional birthday, will kick off first with a celebration in the gardens before the show. Paul Hart directs the production designed by Simon Kenny.
Presented in association with Kevin Wallace for KWL and Middle Earth Enterprises, the new production is of the 2006 stage musical.
The Lord of the Rings originally made its premiere in 2006 at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre. Conceived as a three-and-a-half-hour-long production, the three-act work was mounted with a cast of 65 actors. It subsequently transferred to the West End transfer the following year, and then closed in 2008 as one of the biggest commercial failures in West End history at the time. A revival was announced in 2015 for a world tour which ultimately never materialized.