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REVIEW: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Sam Baugh as Mr Tumnus and Harriet Kelleher who shared the role of Lucy with Caitlin Speirs
Sam Baugh as Mr Tumnus and Harriet Kelleher who shared the role of Lucy with Caitlin Speirs

Kaylee Holt reviews The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by the ArtsHouse Drama Club at Stratford ArtsHouse, Saturday, 5th November

THE ArtsHouse was transformed to Narnia for its resident drama club’s own version of the The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Written by C S Lewis and first published in 1950, this stage version has been especially written for this production by director Aaron Bixley.

Music was composed by Bryony Jones, with music direction from Katy Richardson and choreography by Sarah Plowright. It promised to deliver a thrilling and professional performance, and it did.

The drama club is for children aged seven to 16, although the entire cast were so good their ages became irrelevant, they were simply actors in their own right. Playing the siblings who stumble through the wardrobe to the magical land of Narnia were Jake McCarthy as Peter, Molly Harper as Susan, Myles Vanderburg as Edmund, and Caitlin Speirs as Lucy. Jake was assured in his role as leader of the pack Peter, and Molly was a fine solid presence in support. Myles undertook the role of ‘traitor’ Peter who falls under the charms of the wicked White Witch with aplomp. Playing the witch was Eleanor Coggins, her clear projection and frosty demeanour meant that the audience were as terrified as the rest of the Narnia folk. Caitlin’s Lucy utterly charmed the audience; the young actress oozed talent and professionalism way beyond her years — and she sang a solo beautifully too. Mr and Mrs Beaver, friends to the siblings, were wonderfully played by Benjamin Jeffery and Isabel Lambourn. Alexander Fox’s Aslan was both an endearing and strong performance, while Jon-Luke Goodman had several roles, including Giant Rumblebuffin, Father Christmas and the Professor, in which he added much comedic value.

Every member of the cast added to the tremendous ambience of the production and kept very ably to their characters throughout. The carefully thought out lighting design along with the live piano playing in the background helped to create the suspense and magic happening on stage. The set design was simple yet effective; what was once a room with a wardrobe, swiftly became the setting for an authentic, Narnian wood.

A thoroughly enjoyable show which left us audience converted to true Narnians by its finish.

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