Bilbo goes walkabout in the Shire, preciousss

Bilbo Baggins, hobbitual burglar, may well lift the Arkenstone from Smaug's lair, but it is writer Kevin Dyer and director Joe Sumsion who successfully '˜steal' the essence of The Hobbit in this visually and dramatically thrilling adaptation, writes David Upton.

Monday, 1st August 2016, 12:02 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2016, 1:04 pm
The Hobbitt promenade production continues at Williamson Park, Lancaster until August 13

One of the most audacious and effective stagings of these Dukes Theatre outdoor walkabout productions seen in some years, it’s a triumphant blending of Barney George’s stunning costume designs, Oliver Birch’s soundscape and Brent Lees’ lighting effects. The the story maintains a clear narrative and a mounting scale of action.

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As Bilbo, Gareth Cassidy comes into his element (indoors or out) to hold an audience spellbound by the magic of live theatre.

The other six cast members inhabit nearly 20 roles between them, but are augmented by members of the Dukes’ Young Company so well cleaved to the production it’s often difficult to discern professional from enthusiastic amateur. Staged over five of Williamson Park’s natural ‘theatres’ , this Hobbit - four years in the making - runs to August 13.

David Upton