Theatre in Wales

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At the Sherman

Sherman Cymru- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe , Sherman Theatre , December 9, 2015
At the Sherman by Sherman Cymru- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe There most certainly was real magic behind the wardrobe door but we didn’t have to wait until Lucy’s first disappearance into the enchanting world of Narnia. The wide, open stage was flooded with magic as we entered the auditorium. And it just got better and better. This set design by ‘takis’, with its long, freezing icicles was one of the best, totally engaging sets I have ever seen on this or any other stage.

The sadness of World War 2 evacuation quickly disappears as our four young heroes arrive at Professor Kirk‘s large country house. They are given a warm welcome by the professor and we are given a delightfully engaging and reassuring performance by Keiron Self. He tells them to explore the house.

Lucy, the youngest of the siblings opens a big old wardrobe door and walks inside, several coats fall on to her but she brushes them away and finds herself, out of the back of the wardrobe, in a very strange place, a forest with a lamp post in the middle of it. The cold icicles hanging down from the sky are a bit scary but quickly she meets Mr Tumnus, who is actually a very friendly faun. He asks her home for tea but he is not all he seems. Pete Ashmore’s clear voiced faun catches the magic perfectly. He is in the service of the White Witch who has ordered him to catch humans, “Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve” and turn them over to her. With Lucy his better side wins him over and he lets her go. Lucy returns through the wardrobe and finds that only a few seconds have passed in normal time during her absence. Of course her sister and brothers refuse to believe her ridiculous story.

The professor tells them to carry on searching the house. It’s Hide and Seek time. Mrs. Macready, his housekeeper is not so keen on this. She wants them out of the way as she shows visitors around the house. They hear her coming. Lucy and Edmund hide in the wardrobe and are quickly back in Narnia. They get separated. He meets the Queen of Narnia, Anita Reynolds, in flowing white robes, all beguiling and underlying menace but Edmund doesn’t realise she is in fact the White Witch. When she learns he has two sisters and a brother, she places an enchantment on him and urges him to bring them to her castle, promising to make him her heir.

Peter and Susan remain puzzled by Lucy’s insistence on her Narnia story so they ask the Professor and are surprised when he supports her story. Soon all four children are in Narnia together. They find Mr. Tumnus’ cave but it is wrecked, the wicked witch has taken her revenge. Mr. Beaver, a charming and whiskery performance from Howard Chadwick, hides the children in his house, where Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, more charm and whiskers from Kate Robson-Stuart, tell them that the witch’s power will fail when two “Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve” fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel. But there seems no way to resists the evil witch: then Father Christmas appears with magical presents. Peter gets a sword, Susanna a horn and a bow with arrows and Lucy a knife and a bottle of healing liquid.

With Aslan now returned, another dignified and captivating performance from Matthew Woodyatt the witch is defeated but not before some blood thirsty stabbing and throat cutting. Our quartet become the rulers of Narnia. Matthew Durkan - Edmund, Gwawr Loader – Lucy, Elin Philips – Susan and Joseph Tweedale – Peter all take us through the story with a great vivacity, charm and joy. They totally captivate and make this the most magical Christmas show in town.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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