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New York | 2h 0m | Already closed

Lewis and Tolkien: Of Wardrobes and Rings

From 1 critic and 31 member reviews
Members say: Slow, Disappointing, Intelligent, Great acting, Thought-provoking

About the show

The Sheen Center presents the New York premiere of a new drama exploring the friendship between two lions of 20th century British fantasy, J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. More…

Tolkien and Lewis were giants of a literary genre that reached millions of readers, young and old alike, with mystifying adventures to entertain and deep truths to move people’s hearts. C.S. Lewis ('The Chronicles of Narnia') and J.R.R. Tolkien ('The Lord of the Rings') were also distinguished faculty members at Oxford University and participants in a literary group known as The Inklings. Their robust philosophical discourse served an uncommon friendship that was not without its differences. Life’s circumstances and sometimes unresolved disagreements forced an uncomfortable season of estrangement. 'Wardrobes and Rings' asks us to join “Jack” and “Tollers,” as they knew each other, at Oxford’s historic Eagle and Child pub for one last visit, tempered by thawing humor, confession, and reconciliation.


"Marc Whitmore stagnantly directs what is framed as the very last meeting between Lewis and Tolkien...We leave with an informative synopsis of key facts and a list of suggested further reading, but a spoken Wikipedia article does not a play make. Even without a traditional plot to unfold, we need an emotional arc to follow — especially when the stated premise is a portrayal of one of the most profound friendships in literary history." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if If you like an absorbing dialogue between two literary giant friends

Don't see it if If you want a play with razzle dazzle or a linear plot. This is a conversation and can go off on tangents

Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if Very good acting. If you want to learn about these two great actors. Informative as well about other writers of that era.

Don't see it if If you do not want an intimate theater or if you have no interest in these writers

Intelligent, Indulgent, Slow

See it if you are interested in watching two literary icons discuss friendship, politics, religion, and literature in a dialogue-heavy play.

Don't see it if you want physical action or a plot. You are essentially a fly on the wall, watching two people engage in intelligent conversation.

Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you are a fan C.S, Lewis & Tolkien books & movies & are eager to know more about them as people & of their friendship.

Don't see it if A play focused primarily on a conversation between these 2 aging men is not your thing

Disappointing, Insipid, Overrated

See it if you are really into Lewis and Tolkien.

Don't see it if you are not into Lewis and Tolkien and are looking for upbeat fun entertainment.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Interesting, Informative

See it if you really like CS Lewis and/or JRR Tolkien and want to know more about them as men and their relationship to each other.

Don't see it if you want more action, more characters on stages and/or bore easily listening to 2 men talk to each other or don't care about either of them.

Boring, Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Great idea poorly executed.

See it if I can't think of why. This felt like backbiting gossip.

Don't see it if You want to see two polished actors having a coherent conversation in role of two brilliant erudite Brits

Disappointing, Slow, Missable

See it if You are a fan of Tolkien or Lewis themselves, not just of their work.

Don't see it if You expect great insight into their friendship and competition.

Also The American waitress was annoying and only slowed an already torpid p... Read more Read less

Banal, Disappointing, Insipid, Slow, Chauvinistic

See it if you really love the Inklings and are content to *patiently* listen to two men talk about reminiscing

Don't see it if you'd dislike a show whose only female character is an airhead; you want a tight, engaging script

Also The actors who played Lewis and the girl were good actors (although th... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Great writing

See it if you like stories about friendship and are interested in Lewis and Tolkien, as people.

Don't see it if You expect this to be about fantasy

Disappointing, Slow, Entertaining

See it if You are very interested in the lives of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien

Don't see it if You don't like watching 2 men talking about themselves for 2 hours.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing

See it if You enjoy dry British humor and want to learn more about two lierary giants

Don't see it if You would be bored by a show of just conversation, no matter how witty

During previews
Funny, Slow, Informative, Good acting

See it if You want to learn about Lewis and Tolkien's friendship. Some funny moments but a bit slow at times. It's just two people having a chat.

Don't see it if You want a show where things happen.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You want to see an intelligent interpretation of the relation of two thoughtful writers and their philosophical differences.

Don't see it if You are not prepared to access some subtle points of contention in religious opinion. If you can't find pleasure in conversational drama.

Also I suppose it would help to have a knowledge of the background of both ... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Slow, Informative

See it if you enjoy listening to conversations between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as they bond despite their different points of view.

Don't see it if You are not in the mood to listen carefully to a conversation between two people as they re-kindle a friendship; or you want action, music..

Also I did enjoy the conversations that took place. For me, it was all abou... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Good acting

See it if you're interested in the friendship between Tolkien & Lewis; like plays in which people are not afraid to express Christian beliefs,

Don't see it if you don't like "talky" shows which have no plot as such, dislike bad wigs.

Also I guess the role of the American barmaid was intended to insert a bit ... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are interested in these great authors and their friendship and their religious convictions and the Catholic Church philosphy.

Don't see it if A cute musical or a fictional play not based on true events and friendship.

During previews
Quirky, Slow, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to understand a bit about the two authors, their relationship and how they viewed each other's work.

Don't see it if you want a "show." This is two men having a conversation with some interruption by a waitress at a private club.

During previews
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if you like intellectual dialogues, you are sensitive to wisdom, and interested in the friendship of Lewis and Tolkien.

Don't see it if you expect actions, excitement, or a full story.

During previews
Intelligent, Quirky, Slow, Entertaining, Fluffy

See it if you enjoy a conversation between two friends on friendship, their careers, faith, and where life has brought them. Enjoyable.

Don't see it if you are looking for an exciting evening of theater.

During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Some great acting, Left me wanting more

See it if you learn alittle about each man, one thing that was clear they did care for each other.

Don't see it if you think you learn alot about each man. You do not

During previews
Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Slow, Shallow

See it if You're a fan of Lewis and/or Tolkien & want to see them portrayed on stage.

Don't see it if You want to learn something new or substantial about the 2 men. You want natural acting: only David Payne does, other 2-too much mugging.

During previews
Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Good acting, Funny at times

See it if you want a small peek at the personal relationship between the two great writers back in 1963 right before C. S. Lewis passed away.

Don't see it if you’re expecting some great revelation on either of the writers or if you wanted know more about them regarding their work or their youth.

During previews
Ambitious, Disappointing, Cliched, Dated, Amusing

See it if You like mildly intellectual humor, but don't really want heavy philosophy, and mostly want a bit of refined slapstick

Don't see it if You expect complexity and hate low brow humor

During previews
Disappointing, Slow, Fluffy

See it if You want to learn a little about Lewis or Tolkien.

Don't see it if You want a plot, action or anything entertaining. Just 2 old white guys talking.

Cast & Creatives (10)