The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Tim Rowland and James Firth-Haydon
30 November - 7 December 2013
Sat 7:45pm, Mon 7:45pm, Tue 7:45pm, Wed 7:45pm, Thu 7:45pm, Fri 7:45pm, Sat 2:45pm, Sat 7:45pm
Adapted by Glyn Robbins
Double bill with Gosforth's Fete
The youth group are taking on the challenge of Glyn Robbins’ version of the C.S. Lewis classic. The play focuses on all the most exciting and memorable parts of the book. It is fun but also exciting with great dialogue. The play really does preserve the integrity of this much adored story.
Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan are evacuated to a country house during the Second World War.
Lucy explores the house and finds a magical wardrobe that transports her to the wonderful world of Narnia where the adventure begins with Mr Tumnus, a Faun. The audience soon learn that the land of Narnia is in danger and has become under control of the evil power hungry Queen. It is not long before her brothers and sister join her on the adventure.
The magical book is vividly brought to life on stage and will have children and adults alike on the edge of their seats as they embark on a wonderful adventure in Narnia.
Playwright Glyn Robbins adapted many classic children’s books for the stage including The Hobbit, Wind in the Willows and Treasure Island as well as four by C.S. Lewis. He was married to the successful theatre producer Vanessa Ford, a specialist in children’s theatre. Lewes Youth Theatre chose his adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for their winter production. It successfully distils the key elements and themes in the much loved book. The characters are strong and clear, the dialogue is lively, assured and authentic while the story rattles along.
Directed by Tim Rowland and James Firth-Haydon, who run the Youth Theatre, the cast were assured and committed. Since their last production of Animal Farm the confidence and stage awareness of the group has clearly developed.
The directors cast well. Owen Daughtery was the responsible and ultimately heroic older brother Peter, Henry Fouch played the head strong Edmund, Ophelia Hunter the gentle, thoughtful Susan and Becky Clark the charmingly candid and brave Lucy. All these actors had excellent moments. Dudley Ward as The Professor who welcomes the children into his house was sweet and wise and right out of a story book. Adelaide Cannel inhabited the strict Mrs Macready well and with detail. Rupert Flowers was very touching as a lost and lonely Mr Tumnus. Inez Skilling, a strikingly beautiful White Witch, showed strong concentration and conviction. Mel Henderson doubled as Mrs Beaver and the fierce Maugrim never letting up in focus and conviction. Lucy Zara as The Dwarf was very funny with lot of natural charisma. Dan Hardwick looked as though he had done a lot of character work on the animal he was portraying, which was great to see. Gem Pennington Boulter had developed well vocally to fill the mighty character of the beloved Aslan and brought warmth and concentration to a difficult role. Connie Pike and Adelaide Cannel as leopards worked professionally during the set changes, often a forgotten but very important aspect of stage work discipline.
I really liked the simple pop-up book style set. It was clean, clear and well executed. When the centre piece opened out from the wardrobe to the forest there were ooohs and aaahhs from an appreciative audience.