Deep in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, a creaky network of girders and cantilevers has supported theatrical spectacle ever since the building reopened in 1812. But this Grade I-listed temple of illusion has never witnessed anything quite as ambitious the show that began previewing there last month. The Lord of the Rings, the three-hour, £12.5 million musical that opens on June 19, relies for at least some of its visual coups on the most complex engineering ever assembled under any stage. It doesn’t look like much from the gantry alongside: a huge drum. But inside is a carousel of moving parts that allows 17 separate sections of the revolving stage to rise and fall in seemingly infinite permutations, to make the bridges, mountains, valleys and ramparts of Middle-earth. This groundbreaking piece of kit has dominated rehearsals, says the director, Matthew Warchus. Everything – music, choreography, lighting, sound design and (last but hopefully not least) actors – must be synchronised to the motions of the floor. [More]