On Saturday afternoon, the New World Theatre Club (NWTC) Youth Season put on the first of a 6-performance run of The Hobbit at the Centre Culturel Tramsschapp in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg.
With the stage adaptation by Glyn Robins from the original book by J R R Tolkien, the NWTC youth raised their acting game from their previous productions, most notably "A Modern Take on Five Fantastic Tales - stories from around the world" in March 2016 and "Oh What a Lovely War" in November 2014.
Spurred on by Natalia Sanchez, the NWTC Youth Director and co-director along with Julie Fraser, with Rose Flammant as producer and Valerie Scott as Stage Manager, the production got off slowly and atmospherically with a short sword battle. With the large screen backdrop in action throughout, for both indoor and outdoor scenes, together with a haunting soundtrack, the rest of the set was relatively sparse. This allowed the actors to move around and for the walking scenes to appear realistic. On the other hand, the custumes were stunning - hats off to Hilary Brown and her team!
The play is based on the classic novel, with some just having seen the film series: Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, finds himself outside the comfort of his shire as he finds himself as an unwitting accomplice to retrieve the Arkenstone, which Smaug the dragon guards in the mountain that was once the home of the dwarves, with whom he is now travelling.
The acting by the leads was first class, with Magnus Chan authoritive as Gandalf, and Tiernan Taylor wonderfull Bilbo Baggins character which develops from hestitancy to assuredness as the play develops, and Eva Puc as snivelling Gollum. The characters they met on their travels all were distinctive, from the pale goblins to the dark spiders which were a huge hit with the younger members of the audience.
What was a disappointment, though, was the venue. The large space was set up for the centre floor area - plus the stage - to be used by the actors, with seating - mostly tiered - on three sides. Those on any of the tiered seats or the front row were able to see clearly, but those on the few non-tiered seats could only see half the acting area due to people in seats in front of them. And it was quite difficult to hear at times, with the actors moving around and not facing the same way consistently - as a result, much of the dialogue was lost on some of the audience.
But this is a seriously large production, with a huge number of adults in a large crew supporting the young actors in a hugely ambitious production. There are a total of 54 scenes in the production; at the end of the run there are going to be some exhausted thespians, but rather happy ones for accomplishing a significant feat and ambitious project.
Apart from 20+ actors playing Goblins, Elves, Bowmen, Trolls, Spiders, Wolves, Woodsmen, Smaug and Laketowners, the individual cast comprised the following:
Bilbo Baggins - Tiernan Taylor Gandalf - Magnus Chan Thorin - Sophie Boyer Balin - Tali Golergant Bombur - Francesca Andrich Kili - Alexander Sweerts Fili - Benjamin Teppler Gollum - Eva Puc Beorn - Martina Sardelli Bard - Maude Juste Azog - Noam Golergant Elrond - Holly Fraser Wood Elf King - Fionn Seery McNulty Master- Abigail Bondenham Captain - Barbara Shkurendo
Tickets cost €18 (members €15, students €12) from www.nwtc.lu or tel: 356339.