Tour photo credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
This classic tale by C.S Lewis of the adventures of the Pevensie children has been a firm favourite in our household for many years. We were delighted to be invited to the press evening of the current touring production based on Sally Cookson’s 2017 Leeds Playhouse, original production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. We were both intrigued as to how one of our favourite stories would translate to the stage.
For those not familiar with the plot, the story tells the tale of two brothers and sisters, Edmund, Peter, Susan, and Lucy Pevensie who are evacuated during World War Two to a large country house under the care of eccentric Professor Digory Kirke. During a game of hide and seek, where Lucy hides in a wardrobe full of fur coats and mothballs, the children discover the magical land of Narnia, where it has been winter for a hundred years.
Director Michael Fentiman provides a spellbinding production of this classic story, supported by the exceptional Creative Team which delivered the magic of Narnia to the Birmingham audience. The audience are welcomed by a simple piano on a clean, sleek set from Original Set & Costume Designer, Rae Smith, with Tour Set & Costume Designer Tom Paris. The set, although simplistic, changes with the inspiring use of props and ensemble taking the audience in and out of Narnia with ease. Costumes throughout the production are rich in design with an almost ‘Game of Thrones’ feel and image at times, as the audience are swept into the wonder of Narnia. Lighting Design by Jack Knowles and Sound Design by Gareth Tucker and Ian Dickinson for Autograph help to elevate this memorable production.
This production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is fast paced and packed to the brim with convincing warm performances by the title characters, Shaka Kalokoh (Edmund Pevensie), Robyn Sinclair (Susan Pevensie), Karise Yansen (Lucy Pevensie) and Ammar Duffus (Peter Pevensie). Samantha Womack gives an atmospheric performance as The White Witch whilst our hero Aslan is portrayed confidently by Chris Jared. There is also wonderful puppetry throughout, (Puppetry Director Toby Olié and Puppetry Designer Max Humphries), seen with delicate moments with cat Schrodinger to the magnificent stage presence of the lion puppet, Aslan.
One of my favourite things about this production was the blend of movement (Choreographer Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus) and music as we see the talented ensemble also play various instruments on stage with this folky, mythical orchestration. This combination of movement and music gave the production a captivating energy which held my attention from start to finish.
This was a spectacular magical evening full of illusions, wonder and heart. This production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a feast for the eyes and one I will not forget – do not miss out if it comes to a theatre near you.
Please note that due to cast illness the roles of the White Witch and Mrs Macready will be played by Rachael Dawson and the roles of Professor Kirk and Father Christmas will be played by Matthew James Hinchliffe at the rest of the Birmingham performances this week.
We say: “This was a spectacular magical production full of illusions, wonder and heart. This production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a feast for the eyes and one I will not forget.”