The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe: REVIEW by Rob Wilson
The spectacular began before we entered the auditorium of the Playhouse, with additional doors and thrones to sit in and all involved already in costume. We were handed our evacuation cards and the performance had begun. The theatre has been transformed into the round in more like a circus than a theatre.
The new play based on CS Lewis’s novel about four evacuees, during the Second World War, who go to stay in a country house with a magical wardrobe that provides a doorway to the magical land of Narnia.
Directed by Sally Cookson with a 21-strong company as well as movement director Dan Canham, puppetry director Craig Leo, and aerial director Gwen Hales, not to mention the two fight directors, Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown – we were prepared for a theatrical spectacular. It did not disappoint.
With a miniature steam train setting the striking visuals as it journeyed through the night through to the midair suspension of The White Witch, Carla Mendonça, which drew gasps from the audience. For me, she was one of the stand out characters coupled with lion Aslan, Iain Johnstone, with welcome moments of comedy from the Witch’s sidekicks.
It was a spectacular with a pantomime style, although there was little audience interaction, there was an unusual Father Christmas interlude and I wondered if some of the drama was lost amidst the special effects. It was an enjoyable production with something for everyone.
Due to popular demand, you can now catch the show up until the end of January.