I didn’t know what to expect of the The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe when we attended the press evening at the Lowry Theatre, Manchester last night? The obvious, is it’s an adaptation of a well loved children’s book and family film. Beautiful, fluffy and well presented to families to leave you with a festive feel good vibe.
However, the Elliott & Harper Productions and Catherine Schreiber’s presentation, of the Leeds Playhouse production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is not quite as expected. Of course that version in my mind would have been glorious. But the reality of the The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe at the Lowry is a very different version of the tale.
Much like, dare I say, doing what Wicked did to Wizard of OZ. Picking out the darker side of the much loved C.S Lewis tale, thus giving it a darker more theatrical feel. That in my humble opinion was triumphant, it was also a roaring success with the teens too. 1 of whom was a reluctant companion, yet loved the whole feel and presentation of the production
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, A Quick Overview
When Lucy (Karise Yansen), Susan (Robyn Sinclair), Peter (Ammar Duffus) and Edmund (Shaka Kalokoh) find themselves as evacuees in Scotland and living in the curious home of Mr Wilson (Oliver Grant) where they discover a wardrobe taking them to a whole new world.
A world of magical animals who can speak and walk on two legs. Which on first appearances is a world of snow and ice, huge luxurious fur coats and sledges. However as we know, all is not as it seems, The White Witch (Samantha Womack) had taken over and suppressed and bullied the residents of Narnia.
Yet the prophesy states that 2 sons of Adam and 2 daughters of Eve can restore order and make Narnia the glorious world of sunshine it once was. When the news breaks that the children are in Narnia, Aslan (Chris Jared) returns to prepare and help them fight to save the magical land.
Is It A Family Show?
This is a yes and no answer, Joe and Scarlet loved everything about it, teens are hard to please, that we know? However this production of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe although not specifically aimed at teens, has a grown up theatrical feel that they get. The impressive production wooed them, they were at times speechless, again, another unknown for teens!
Younger children may feel intimidated by the darker feel of the Witch and her servants, who are scary dark characters. However being a mum to two boys I would say one would have been terrified, one, who loved a good baddie would have lapped it up.
Review, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe 2021
As I stated previously this is no fluffy production. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is creative and theatrical. The stage on first inspection was beautifully simple yet the genius is in the cast and props.
The train scene is immersive, it has you feeling like you are on that journey, simple props, the perfect atmosphere and great acting make you feel the nerves of the children as they travel all that way to their new lives.
When the children arrive at the house, there are no clever sets, yet, the way the lights and props move has you feeling like you are in some grand hall, it really is creative genius at its best.
The cat, although had a puppet master, took on a personality of his own, thus making you only see the cat. Additionally moving between the wardrobe and Narnia took you on a journey that made you feel you were truly transporting between worlds.
The Witch radiated evil, which seemed to get darker as the production proceeded. Some of the scenes were pure magic and Samantha Womack gave her a level of coldness that made her shine.
This was perfectly paired with the warmth and bravery of Aslan, being played in stereo with a giant stunning Lion puppet and Chris Jared. It was remarkable how they became one and the same.
Would I Recommend The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe?
Absolutely, if you appreciate truly outstanding acting and creativity then this is one for you. It’s also a great family show to see, but more of an artistic creative experience. The whole cast are wonderful, the scenes cleverly beautiful, fabulous effects and an incredible adaptation of the story. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is different to anything I have seen for a long time and I loved it.
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is showing at The Lowry Theatre until the 15th January and one to add to the festive list. Please note I was gifted the tickets in return for a review, and you can’t argue with outstanding creativity. See more theatre reviews here.