Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
“There’s something rather magical about crossing from a warm, twilit evening in Kensington Gardens...into an icy, Narnian winter.”The Artful Diner
Theatre group Threesixty stages a magical version of the children’s classic in Kensington Palace Gardens.
My favourite moment in this tented production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was when Aslan roared. Straightaway a second, smaller roar emanated from the chair in front of mine and I leaned over to see a little girl, hands clawed to scare off the White Witch.
It was a reminder that for all the folksy music, clever costumes and fur-clad children in this Rupert Goold and Michael Fentiman production, the bit kids really want to see is the lion. And I have to admit he was my favourite character, too, his large, bark-clad exterior prowling the circular stage with surprising agility, bearing in mind it took three people to operate him.
There’s something rather magical about crossing from a warm, twilit evening in Kensington Gardens, through the flap of a giant tent into an icy, Narnian winter. Moving images are projected onto the walls of the tent, taking us with the children as they travel CS Lewis’s enchanted land, set to Adam Cork’s original score.
I have to admit, when the children and animals broke into song, it took me a little by surprise, but as the story progressed, singing animals and a chanting witch all seemed to be part of the magic.
Talking of the witch, she was wonderfully cruel and I loved the ingenious and simple way her sleigh was put together with a spinning stage and cleverly placed props. Not so sure about the Russian dwarf, and I’m sure I detected Father Christmas with a native Indian accent, but I loved the speaking animals – a hedgehog came to beg sweets from kids in the audience during the interval.
And what of the wardrobe? It rose and fell through the floor as the children passed through, which wasn’t what you would necessarily expect. But, like everything in this performance, it was original and well thought through.
Find out more about the production, which runs until 9 September.
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