An enchanting retelling of the famous CS Lewis story, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is an enthralling piece of total theatre with a tight ensemble of actor musicians and a sprinkling of magic.
A skin-tingling opening rendition of “We’ll meet again” sets the story well and truly in its Second World War setting as the four evacuee siblings Lucy (Delainey Hayles), Peter (Ammar Duffus), Edmund (Shaka Kalokoh) and Susan (Robyn Sinclair) arrive at night to a Scottish station. As they settle into their new home they form a bond with the puppet cat Schrödinger and his owner Professor Kirk (played by the talented musician and actor Johnson Willis) before Lucy discovers the wonders of the wardrobe in the spare room. War is a recurring theme throughout the show, both in and out of Narnia and some parents in the audience will be appalled (and their children delighted) that the siblings are gifted “real” swords and daggers by Father Christmas and get to fight with them during the battle with the White Witch’s beast at the end.
The stage transformation into Narnia is done with the ensemble wearing reversible fur coats with white satin lining, transforming the actors into the landscape, while grey parasols appear as rocks. It is one of the moments in which Tom Parris’s exceptional set and costume design work in tandem. The Narnia characters are full of verve and song from Mr Tumnus the faun, to the Beavers and wolves. Samantha Womack as the white witch is the big-name star to draw the audiences in, but it is the multi-character ensemble of actor musicians who are the real stars of this production. Aslan’s entrance is a moment of awe as the elaborate life-size puppet trundles onto stage and there is magic in his theatrical resurrection when he disappears from beneath a sheet to re-emerge in an elevated position. There is also an unforgettable moment where the white witch rises high into the flies causing the children in the audience to gasp.
This is a delightful seasonal show to take the family to, which will have you leaving the theatre full of joy and good cheer.
Until Sun 8 January 2023