The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Swansea Little Theatre

December 8, 2018 by

“Let’s go and see this” said my granddaughter, pointing to an advertisement for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in a Swansea festive brochure. And so we did: five of us, two granddaughters ( 8 and 6 ), one daughter, one son-in-law and me. And what a good choice of Christmas show it was.

This well-loved tale by C.S Lewis (dramatised by Glyn Robbins) was directed by Clare Owen. For the production, she directed not one but two casts, with the large number of children involved revolving over the performance slots. There were two sets of ten children supporting eleven adult parts – a huge task indeed. She is to be congratulated on not only having the directed all the actors, but also on ensuring that  (in the main) the story progressed pretty seamlessly through a multiplicity of scenes. Owen also designed the set which was simple, but ingenious and effective, comprising a snowy scene evoked by four long white curtains, white trees and a white floor with a number of ramps and steps. The floor arrangement allowed travel to be evoked during the story by characters walking up and down ramps and steps. The edges of the set were used well to site the children’s bedroom, the wardrobe and Mr Tumnus’s sitting room.

The cast worked really well as a team and their enjoyment came over the audience. Most popular in our group were the four main characters, the children: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy – and most popular of all was Lucy ( who was about their age). Lucy (played by Brooke Gardner) had the major role in the play and warmed to her part during the evening, culminating in a very confident performance. Tyler Rees played Edmund well, with some notable portrayals of “naughty boy” behaviour. Sam Dinnage was a convincing Peter growing in stature to become a prince and warrior. Cate Harvey was an outstanding Susan, slightly priggish and bossy  but also caring.

Particularly enjoyable were some of the character parts such as Mr and Mrs Beaver (Jeremy Thomas and Sali Earls). They very successfully played their roles for laughs – and got them. A delightful double act. Mr Tumnus (Tim Pottinger) gave us a performance full of character. The White Witch ( Lisa Handford) and Aslan (John Welch) were also strong performers- Welch managing and impressively lion headpiece. Even smaller parts such as the leopards ( Helen Braund and Tracy Lewis) gave their parts full rein, doubling also as fun scene shifters).

Full credit must also be given to the production team who produced excellent costumes, masks and quite amazing face painting. Sound and lighting were also used to great effect: the lion’s roar was powerful and just this side of scary, and there were some memorable spot-lit fighting tableaux during the war scenes.

And then it was all over. But for the granddaughters it wasn’t, because the crew allowed them to walk into the magic wardrobe and stroke the fur coats – and have their pictures taken. And then the White Witch’s sparkly white sleigh was brought onto the stage and they were able to sit in  it. Oh joy! As granddaughter #2 said on the way back to the car park, “I loved it mum!”

Until December 8


This review has been kindly supported by the Wales Critics Fund.

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