The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe Is An Utterly Magical Adventure In Narnia

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Bridge Theatre ★★★★☆

Hari Mountford
By Hari Mountford Last edited 55 months ago

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Last Updated 26 November 2019

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe Is An Utterly Magical Adventure In Narnia The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Bridge Theatre 4
Photo: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

Every Christmas season it's always the same names in the West End. A Christmas Carol here. A Nativity there. Switch it up this year by taking a trip to snowy lands of Narnia. The Bridge Theatre plays host to a new, magical production of C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — and it's unlike any take you've seen before.

Puppetry, aerial silks, songs and comedy coalesce to create a circus-cum-musical-cum-immersive-audience-participation-show — and one which children and parents alike will be bowled over by. The audience is involved from the very start: upon entering the auditorium, ushers and actors dressed as WWII soldiers and evacuee wardens hand out 'Evacuation Tickets' and ask theatre-goers if they have brought their gas masks with them. On-stage, a quartet playing wartime songs such as 'Run Rabbit Run' adds to the 1940s atmosphere.

Things kick off and we're immediately drawn to the ensemble which deserves a special shout-out. They are more than mere background characters. Their movements and actions are fundamental to the whole story, and they are also the set, props, and special effects as well as actors. From creating a train made of people, choreographed in a dance-like fashion, to transforming the stage into a snow-covered Narnia with giant white pieces of fabric, they keep the story moving.

Photo: Brinkhoff Moegenbur

Father Christmas, in a rather questionably festive outfit, is perhaps not the traditionally jolly ho-ho-ho fellow we expect, and Aslan is about five times as big as a real lion — but of course, a little artistic licence is allowed. Speaking of, the Beavers in an extremely 2019 twist: vegan beavers

The stars of the show — apart from Mr and Mrs Beaver, who are just fabulous — are no doubt the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, who bring such energy to the story as they take the audience with them on their adventure through the wardrobe.

This really is a production for all generations — even though the production is marketed as 6+, perhaps don't bring the under 8s (or do but cover their eyes, when the White Witch appears). There is definitely more of a focus on the special effects and spectacle of the show, rather than the actual story, but it does make for a full-on sparkly and impressively festive production. Uplifting, funny and truly magical, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe should be on every family's Christmas list.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park ,London, SE1 2SG. Tickets from £15. Until 2 February 2020