Bringing a touch of magic and fantasy to every child's life, C.S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe has always enthralled with its promise of magic and adventure. Now adapted for the stage by Theresa Heskins, the story of the Pevensie children Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund and the all-important wardrobe unlocking a path to the kingdom of Narnia is a glorious, musical adventure bringing festive fun for all ages.
An all-singing, all-dancing cast with pitch-perfect harmonies opened the production and very quickly moved to Lucy opening the wardrobe. The much-anticipated unveiling of Narnia was not disappointing - for the price paid, I viewed a rather beautiful, icy blue set complete with glaring trees, a cute glowing lamppost and an equally endearing portrayal of Mr Tumnus by James Gillan. The paper snow showering the audience (which sent both kids and adults into a flurry) was a beautiful sight to see, and one of the more memorable moments in the adaptation.
Annie Lewis played a loveable, compelling Lucy with the character nailed from the onset, while Edmund (played by Jack Hardman) performed the traitorous, Turkish Delight-loving teenager with brilliant charm and authority. The standout character was indeed the White Witch, played by the captivating Kate Tydman. Adopting just the right high-pitched, animated squeaky-ness and some rather funky headgear, Tydman's White Witch was immediately a negative and commanding presence that was just the right kind of naughty for Christmas, and certainly not too frightening for a younger audience. Aslan on the other hand weaved in and out with a rather loud roar and for me, was easily forgettable.
Heskins creates a believable, magical otherworld in a fast-paced and relevant style, using a brilliant cast that captivates and entertains. The production is a commendable revival of Narnia and particularly good for families with children, or simply those who are still children at heart.
A delightful festive treat for those who always hoped to find their Narnia beyond the wardrobe.