Heading into the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA) play “The Hobbit,” I wondered how young children could possibly portray and deliver the complexities of the characters of J.R.R. Tolkien’s prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. My doubt was soon reconciled with the opening scene of the latest CTA production.
The plot centers on a group of desperate dwarves who need a less than valiant Bilbo Baggins to help them overcome numerous foes in order to reclaim a treasure of gold and silver guarded by a fire-breathing dragon.
Young Danny Kandra superbly portrays the bumbling, reluctant hero with charm and humor as the regal Gandolf, played by Barret Mitchell, somehow convinces him that his new dwarf houseguests will support his efforts to recover their birthright.
I wondered how young children could possibly portray and deliver the complexities of the characters of J.R.R. Tolkien’s prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. My doubt was soon reconciled with the opening scene of the latest CTA production.
Just what has he gotten himself into? Bilbo soon finds out when the dwarfs enter his homestead two by two, each with their own personality demanding a hearty meal and plan of action.
Blake Martin as Thorin shines as the leader of the pack, brave, boisterous, and rowdy throughout the entire show. His cunning and passion endure the entire trek, leading him to actually slaying the dragon and awarding each leader their due award.
Throughout their travels to the dragon’s dungeon, each of the elves displays a distinct personality, where it is the oldest and wisest Balin, played by Blanca Martel, or the hungry and careful Bombur from Sage Shanahan.
Bilbo soon finds himself separated from the dwarfs and in a cave where he encounters Gollum, a hissing, whining creature who lives in a pool in the caverns where he hunts fish and goblins. Gollum wants to eat Bilbo, and the two have a contest of riddles to determine Bilbo’s fate. Gollum was portrayed by an amazing Finn Hintermister. Just 13-years-old, Finn loses himself in this desperate and lonely character, engaging the audience with a wild and inhuman gait and disposition. Creepy, yes. An amazing portrayal by a young teen.
Another standout performer is Tyler Dickson, the Elven Queen, whose sophisticated gait and purposeful lines define the power of her people. Together the elves unite with the dwarves to slay the fantastic dragon creature, amazingly created by set designer Sue Tilberry, who silenced the young audience with an amazing dragon head and wings that encompassed the entire stage.
Director Trevor Greenfield, whose forward in the show program shares with the audience that his first experience with the Hobbit was during an elementary school field trip, says, “Like any enduring classic, the most important aspect is that we relate to the characters. Yes, they may live in a fantastical world unlike anything in ours, but we believe and relate to them because the characters and creatures, unlike anything you can imagine, are only a reflection of what we see in our lives.”
Running Time: 2 hours with intermission.
“The Hobbit” plays through February 16, 2020, at the CTA Theatre –1661 Bay Head Road, Annapolis, MD 21409. For more information, click here.