Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hobbit hopefuls queue for stage quest

Hundreds of people hoping to land the role of a hobbit in the forthcoming stage adaptation of Lord of the Rings turned out for auditions in London yesterday. More than 1,000 people are estimated to have attended the one-day audition at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, staged by the show's organisers to find the 20 hobbits they need for the £25 million musical version of Tolkein's famous trilogy. The West End show, due to open next June, follows on from the global success enjoyed by Peter Jackson's blockbuster Lord of the Rings films. But rather than relying on special effects to re-create the miniature, ale-gargling heroes of Tolkein's epic tale, organisers of the new Lord of the Rings musical will be relying on more traditional means to ensure that eventual members of the show's chorus are shrunk to hobbit-size. In notices for yesterday's audition, the show's producer Kevin Wallace specified that while having hairy toes and a personality "with hobbit-like tendencies" would be an advantage, applicants had to meet a height requirement specifying that they should be under 5ft 7in to perform in the musical. Many of those turning out in the hope of securing a part didn't look much like hobbits, with most of the hopefuls comprising of new stage school graduates trying to make their big break. "I don't really want to be a hobbit. I just wasn't doing anything today and my agent hasn't lined much up," one 23-year-old female stage school graduate told the Guardian newspaper. Still it appeared that the unhobbit-like tendencies of those auditioning did not deter enthusiastic producer Mr Wallace who declared: "By the time we've finished with them, they will look like hobbits."