Stage review: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the Rose Theatre, Kingston

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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 opens the production and very quickly moves to Lucy opening the wardrobe. The much-anticipated unveiling of Narnia is not disappointing – for the price you pay, you view a rather beautiful, icy blue set complete with glaring trees, a cute glowing lampost 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) is a beautiful sight to see, and one of the more memorable moments in the adaptation.

Annie Lewis is a loveable, compelling Lucy with the character nailed from the onset, while Edmund (played by Jack Hardman) performs the traitorous, Turkish Delight-loving teenager with brilliant charm and authority. The standout character is 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 is immediately a negative and commanding presence who is the right kind of naughty for Christmas, and certainly not too frightening for a younger audience. Aslan on the other hand weaves in and out with a rather loud roar and for me, is 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. ★★★☆☆


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