Brett Herriot Review

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh Review:

“ Truly Unmissable

***** 5 Stars

C.S Lewis’s legacy to the world is his beloved Chronicles of Narnia books, set in the land of fantasy where animals speak and great adventures of the human heart await. Without a shadow of doubt the most popular of these books has to be, The Lion, The witch and the wardrobe which has enjoyed many television and film adaptations. It’s only in recent years that bringing the story to life on stage has been attempted and this production based on the Leeds Playhouse original is magnificent and the most charming performance you will see on stage.

This production remounted from the original is a thrilling magical ride of adventure seen through the eyes of childhood. Set at the height of the Blitz,  Peter (Ammar Duffus), Susan (Robyn Sinclair), Edmund (Shaka Kalokoh) and Lucy (Karose Yansen) are evacuated to countryside mansion of Professor Digory Kirke. Upon finding the wardrobe the children are transported into Narnia for the ultimate battle of good versus evil meeting a myriad of characters along the way.

This production directed with class and style by Michael Fentiman delivers the fullest telling of the story from any adaption so far seen. He is aided by the simply stunning set and costume design from Tom Paris, which uses the entire stage of the King’s to wonderful effect.  Things are further boosted by the beautifully subtle but striking lighting design by Jack Knowles and sound design by Gareth Tucker & Ian Dickinson.

Performances are universally excellent but special credit goes to Samantha Womack who delivers the ultimate performance as the White Witch and Sam Buttery as Mr Beaver who is the heart of the show is so many ways. Neither outshines the ensemble cast who have created perhaps the most gorgeous collection of characters seen on the British Stage.

The production features a lush and score and music by composers Benji Bower and Barnaby Race all played live by the cast throughout the performance.  Make no mistake this not a musical, its truly a play that’s enhanced by music as a  storytelling tool. The same is true of stellar puppetry that’s used throughout to bring Aslan the Lion alongside the Professors Cat to life.

There is simply no doubt this is British theatre at its best, with clear storytelling, enchanting performances, music that grips the heart and the magic of illusion, even flying are deployed but thankfully never over used.

C.S Lewis’s story has never been more relevant or timely and this simply wonderful performance is a testament to that very fact.  This production is worth every penny of the ticket price and truly reminds the audience of the power of Theatre to engage, entertain and educate in equal measure.

Grab a ticket and get along to the King’s Theatre, take a seat then get ready to take a giant leap through the wardrobe, let your inner child out and enjoy the adventure! This is truly unmissable!

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, King’s Theatre Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 12th February, For tickets go to: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe

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