You travel through wind, hail and thunderstorms, escaping trolls, goblins, wolves, and the swampy Gollum (Christopher Llewelyn) in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, adapted by Glyn Robbins at the Palace Theatre.

Children under eight would be scared but the older Doctor Who generation love being terrified.

They hide behind their programmes and cover their ears with their hands.

They need stamina, too. The show lasts nearly three hours.

It is directed by Roy Marsden, television’s Inspector Dalgleish.

The scenic, sound and special effects crew including David Shields, Mark Bloxsidge and John Harris, create a magical middle earth on a grand scale.

They are almost a victim of their own success since they distract from our empathy with the characters.

Occasionally, especially when backs are turned on the audience, the background music overpowers the speech.

Bilbo Baggins (Russell Clough), a simple homely Hobbit is sent by Gandalf, a sorcerer, (Christopher Robbie) with an exiled King, Thorin Oakenshield (Andrew Coppin) and his band of displaced dwarves, to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, and its treasure.

Bilbo shows courage in a sword fight with a giant spider.

He is even braver when he meets Smaug, an imaginatively created, terrifying dragon Christopher Robbie, who began his career at Altrincham Garrick, is an outstanding wizard.

His charismatic character has the poise of one who is in authority. His outfit, designed by Abigail Hammond, adds to his sense of presence.

Kids will love it.

* Until Sunday, 30th May. Ticketmaster: 0844 847 2275** (*Subject to booking/transaction fee)