Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at The Lowry

Last night was just what I needed.

Never have I seen such a happy, smiley post-show foyer. Ok everyone was masked up (well done everyone) but the eyes and laughter had it.

In a world where we’ve entered plan B, plan A was to head to press night of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at The Lowry.

Note this was before the official start of the show – those seats soon filled up!

And in a world where we feel we’re through the looking glass and beyond most days, heading through the wardrobe to a magical land feels most appetising and possibly less scary, witch or no witch.

But enough with the dark, tenuous analogies! Last night was just lovely, lovely, lovely.

Direct from London, the smash hit production of C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, voted the nation’s favourite book in 2019 (and one of mine in, cough, the 80s).

This is the story of Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they wave goodbye to wartime Britain and embark on the most magical of adventures in a frozen, faraway land where they meet a Faun, talking Beavers, the noble king of Narnia, Aslan, and the coldest, most evil of all, The White Witch.

I’ve seen that stage on Salford Quays transformed into multiple scenarios and situations, but last night that space had me captivated. The choreography of actors, musicians, puppetry, props had me mesmerised from the opening strains of We’ll Meet Again.

Each character was a delight and brought you into their world in their own individual way. Mr Tumnus made me laugh, broke my heart, the beavers made me want them to adopt me and take me in as one of them (ditto the Professor), Samantha Womack sent a chill as cold as an eternal winter with her icy White Witch, her costumes made me want to step into her wardrobe never mind any other.

The children, daughters of Eve, sons of Adam were perfectly pitched as our eyes, ears and guide through a world of fear and fantasy.

But let’s talk about the felines, the mighty Aslan and, for me, the equally mighty Schroedinger (how I wish I’d named my cat after a paradox – I went with Bryan). I fall in love with every animal I come in contact with and thanks to the mechanics and puppetry on show, this was no exception.

With falling snow and (spoiler) leaves, flying witches, steam trains crossing the stage, and backdrops that come alive before your very eyes, this is definitely one for adults and children, lovers of the book and newbies to Narnia.

And the even better news? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is on at The Lowry until 15 January 2022.

Visit The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for tickets and more information.

Production details:

The cast includes Samantha Womack (White Witch),  Ammar Duffus (Peter Pevensie), Shaka Kalokoh (Edmund Pevensie), Robyn Sinclair (Susan Pevensie) and Karise Yansen (Lucy Pevensie).   Aslan is played by Chris Jared, Mr Tumnus by Jez Unwin, Mr Beaver by Sam Buttery and Maugrim by Michael Ahomka-Lindsay. The tour will be directed by Michael Fentiman, based on the original production by Sally Cookson with original Set and Costume design by Rae Smith.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is produced on tour by Elliott & Harper Productions and Catherine Schreiber and based on the original Leeds Playhouse production.

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