Places to Go - Encore Stage & Studio's Production of the Hobbit

Logo1 By Laury Sendek

On Saturday, back when Sandy was just a glimmer in our bright sunny sky, I ventured out with all three kids (plus one) to see Encore Stage & Studio's Production of the Hobbit. I don't find it exactly easy to take four children to a play, especially when one is only 3 years old, but luckily the thrill of dragons, goblins, dwarfs, and wizards kept them entertained. The play has some slow moments (the cave scenes could move a LOT faster) and some actors are better than others (though considering nobody on stage has graduated high school yet, the over-all quality of acting is always impressive), but all in all my kids seemed to feel the magic. The scenery and lighting were exceptionally good, especially the Hobbit's house, which appeared so realistic that I wanted to stop in for a visit.

Regarding theater-going with a 3 year old (the play is actually recommended for children 4 and up, so I knew I was taking a risk), T lost some enthusiasm during the first half ("but I'm so tired of sitting in this chair, mom. I DON'T WANT TO SIT" - a trip to the lobby soon followed), but gladly returned for the second half, anxiously inquiring "when is the dragon coming? WHEN?" I became a little nervous when the actual dragon appeared, whose costume came across as a little more "cute" then "evil", but T couldn't wait for the head dwarf's sword to kill the beast. Apparently dragon sympathy is not something my son possesses.

I wish I could give you a more detailed account of the girls' reactions, but T occupied most of my attention. Afterwards, when asked for their reviews, P proclaimed it "great", especially the end "when they get lots of treasure." P's best friend, L, said she "liked everything about it." Whereas F's review was a little more balanced - calling it "okay, but not amazing." Her favorite part was the beginning because she found it funny when all the dwarfs overtook Bilbo's house (I too, agree, that this was where the play truly shined). F thought the end could have been either more dramatic or that it should have ended with the Hobbit's return home (both good suggestions).

After the play, all of the actors lined up in the lobby so that theater-goers could meet them in person. The sight of real-life "stars" caused my kids to alternate between jumping up and down with excitement and hiding behind my legs out of shyness. All three girls ran to have their programs signed by Brandi Moore, the Elven Queen, who, as always, put on a fabulous performance. After meeting Ms. Moore, the kids slowly approached other actors, collecting signatures, a little awed by the whole experience (and now I have several signed programs, which I've been tasked with keeping "forever").

All in all a nice afternoon and a great play for this Halloween season. The show runs through next weekend with the following performance times:

Friday November 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday November 3 at 11 a.m.
Saturday November 3 at 3 p.m.
Sunday November 4 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children. Check it out if you have a chance.

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