⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Stunning!
The acclaimed novel by C.S. Lewis has been brought to life on stage with the production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Directed by Michael Fentiman and based on the original production by Sally Cookson with original Set and Costume design by Rae Smith, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe tells the story of Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter, wartime evacuees who discover the world of Narnia inside a wardrobe.
Accompanied by magical creatures and Aslan the noble lion, they embark on an incredible adventure as they battle The White Witch to rid Narnia from a perpetual winter.
The four children, Peter (Ammar Duffus), Susan (Robyn Sinclair), Edmund (Shaka Kalokoh) and Lucy (Karise Yansen, in her theatre debut), have distinct personalities and are endearing right from the beginning, interacting with each other with a wonderful chemistry. From their sibling squabbles and childlike wonder to joining together in their fight against the witch, all four gave faultless performances far beyond their years and experience.
Playing the White Witch is Samantha Womack. Womack gives a stunning performance as the calculating, evil queen, commanding the stage with a voice so sharp it cuts through the air, at one point rising up in a Wicked-esque spectacle that brought a chilling end to the first half.
The character of Aslan is also brilliantly done, with three puppeteers creating the movements of the animal, while Chris Jared takes on the human form. Stoic and regal while sporting a viking-style look, Jared’s Aslan worked in direct contrast to the witch.
They are joined by the sweet Mr Tumnus (Jez Unwin), the hilarious Mr Beaver (Sam Buttery) and Mrs Beaver (Christina Tedders) – these two could form a comedy act together in their own right – and the terrifying Maugrim (brilliantly executed by Michael Ahomka-Lindsay).
The success of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe can also largely be attributed to the ensemble cast as a whole. The performers take on multiple roles throughout, working puppets so convincingly that you would be forgiven for forgetting that they aren’t real, playing instruments as they sing, holding props as they move. It’s slick and perfectly executed – every little movement is done with absolute precision and it works beautifully.
While the show isn’t a musical, the folk-style music is punctuated by songs that really encapsulate the themes of the show. The set, while relatively simplistic at its core, is imaginatively and creatively used with surprises and reveals throughout. Suitcases turn into a train, a street lamp rises from the piano, a simple tent creates two different settings in an instant. It’s a spectacularly visual feast, intensified by stunning lighting both around the stage and across the floor that not only amplified the changes in settings, but the characters themselves (blue for the witch, orange for Aslan).
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a wonderfully magical and joyous production. With stunning visuals, striking costumes and onstage illusions, it’s is an absolute delight for all the family!