The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Review

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

15th February 2022

★★★★★

C.S. Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is now touring the country having transferred directly from London. This critically acclaimed production is a magical extravaganza. The much loved story follows Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they embark on the most magical of adventures in an icy, faraway land where they meet a Faun, talking Beavers, the mighty king of Narnia, Aslan, and the evil White Witch.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is enchanting and magical from the outset. The outstanding set, designed by Tom Paris, and lighting, by Jack Knowles, is used perfectly to create the mystical land and the cleverly choreographed transitions mean that there no moments are missed. The train scene in the opening act is well orchestrated and gives the audience an insight into the marvels yet to come. Costumes, also by Tom Paris, are perfect for the time period and each costume has character about it with intricate details. Interestingly, the Witch herself does not stick to the traditional long white dress but instead is dressed ready to fight, showing her true character.

The original music, composed by Benji Bower and Barnaby Race is an excellent addition and really helps to tell the story in a unique way. The actor/muso approach is both audibly and visually impressive with the incredibly talented cast taking on many roles, with some playing multiple instruments too. Choreography by Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus manages to mix modern styles of dance to the almost folk-like music with ease. The movements are executed well by all and fit seamlessly in with the show.

The cast are all extremely talented and work tirelessly throughout the performance, from the aerial stunts to the stunning illusions and the impressive fight sequences. The cast are on the go at all times, playing multiple roles and yet always remaining in character. Of course, Aslan’s arrival is a big moment and the puppetry, designed by Max Humphries and directed by Toby Olié, is amazing. Aslan is truly brought to life by the puppeteers and Chris Jared who plays the gentle beast. Ammar Duffus, Shaka Kalokoh, Robyn Sinclair and Karise Yansen are all brilliant in their roles as Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy respectively. Jez Unwin is the perfect Mr Tumnus and Sam Buttery’s comic approach to Mr Beaver wins over the audience. There are moments where the White Witch could perhaps be slightly more dramatic and dark but overall the casting for this production is second to none.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a classic story and this new production breathes new life into it. Newcomers to the tale will marvel in its fantasy lands, the spectacle and magic seen onstage and generations who have grown up with the stories will be transported back to their childhoods when watching the much-loved characters come alive in front of them. This production is not to be missed!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is playing at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury until Saturday 19th. For tickets click here. For information about the remaining tour click here.

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

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