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The Hobbit

Empire Theatre Liverpool,

Review by Trevor Fleming


The Hobbit: Promotional image from the stage presentation


I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. It should have been fantastic, in the true sense of the word, what with it being an adaptation of a fantasy novel. Yet this production left me wanting more and not in a good way.

From the off the production was riddled with poor staging on the part of many of the actors, constantly turning upstage which left the audience unable to hear their dialogue due to the lack of radio mikes, which were sorely needed in a theatre as large as the Empire.


The inaudible dialogue only served to frustrate the audience in as much that the lacklustre special effects failed to wow the audience. Given the number of children in the audience I expected to hear the customary oohs and aahs that children are so given to producing at the most feeble spectacle, yet precious few were forthcoming.

Since there were so many children I assumed this would be a child friendly show. However at times it seemed as though I was watching a Shakespearean History play with all attempts at accessibility left by the wayside.

The costumes for the more fantastical creatures were rather hit and miss, while Gollum, the Spider and the three Trolls served as fairly credible creatures of Middle Earth, the Wolves and Eagle King seemed as though the local W.I. had gotten their crochet needles out at the last minute and were given the brief ‘just make it fluffy’. The Eagle produced my biggest laugh that evening, for the wrong reasons.

All in all this seemed like a tired show, having run for ten years it is really showing it, from the dated soundtrack to the disappointing dragon. Despite some good performances, notably Peter Howe as Bilbo and Christopher Llewellyn as Gollum, there really is very little to recommend this relic from Middle Earth.

Trevor Fleming

Trevor Fleming is a Liverpool based actor, improvisor and Film/Theatre producer. He is a founder member of Liverpool's premier improvisatonal comedy company 'Impropriety'. He enjoys Sci-fi/Fantasy literature and is partial to bribes.


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