Blaming the critics.

The Lord of the Rings – the musical – is closing its run in Toronto on September 3, not quite reaching the six month mark since its opening late last March. And it’s all because of the critics:

Canadians just don’t get it. That was the bitter message from English theatre producer Kevin Wallace as he announced that The Lord of the Rings will close in Toronto Sept. 3, quashing hopes that the $28-million musical would single-handedly revive a tourism market suffering from a powerful Canadian dollar and high gas prices on one hand, and American security fears on the other.

Yesterday, a defensive Mr. Wallace used a candid press conference at the Princess of Wales Theatre to retort to the Canadian and American critics who disliked the show, blaming them for its truncated Toronto run.

Actually a number of things are blamed, but no allowance is made for the possibility that it was, as the critics said, bad theatre. Movies that have been soundly panned by critics often do well despite that, driven by viewer word of mouth in their support. If word of mouth from those who saw the music couldn’t overcome the comments of critics, that on its own says a lot.

Really though, a musical Lord of the Rings? What were they thinking? Spamalot, it’s not.

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