I saw The Hobbit with my Lansing grandkids, 5, almost 6, and 8 -- and it's a credit to the show that they stayed focused, even though it is as long as a "grownup show" -- two full hours. (Think twice before bringing toddlers.) Fans of the book and/or movie will recognize favorite characters, and the youthful performers of All-of-us Express Children's Theatre (performing AT Riverwalk) do it up in style with a cast of 27 goblins, elves, dwarves, etc. and, of course, Bilbo, the Hobbit. (I like to see All-of-us on the Riverwalk stage, where they are so much closer than at their usual Hannah Center venue.)
Kalina Hertafeld did a wonderful job as Bilbo, with great diction, projection and believable emotions. John Miller-Purrenhage brought gravitas to Galdalf, with his deep, resonant voice. Samantha Marable was so strong and tough as Thorin Oakenshield, I checked the program, not quite believing she was a girl despite the long braid. Gollum (Jonathan Townley) was appropriately creepy with a strange vocal quality, difficult to understand, (but "the way he's supPOSed to sound" according to my 8 year old). Smaug, the dragon, was a creative group-puppet effort. I'm not sure whom to credit with puppet building (set?prop?costume?) but it was well done.
Gollum was enhanced by his creeping movements and exotic costume. ALL the costumes were well done (Cyntha Wright-Pratt and a large crew.) Various battle scenes featured impressive large-group combat choreography (Brett Eckhart.) The set was flexible, and efficiently changed, accommodating the wide variety of locales the script called for (Justin Brewer) and the whole magical experience was well orchestrated by director Morgan Lees.
One more weekend - Fri at 7, Sat at 2 & 4:30 and Sun at 2$7/$5 - GENERAL SEATING, (another reason to get there early -- particularly on Sunday when Impression 5 is open and parking is tricky. Remember, there is extra parking behind R.E. Olds Museum and you can park in the lot behind the Knight Cap etc... and walk along the riverwalk to the theatre entrance.