Review by Kirsty Alexander
4th – 31st December
For ages 7+
Christmas at the Sherman is always magical from your first steps into the foyer, and this year’s festive offering is a trip to one of the most magical places of all, Narnia! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has taken over the main space and was welcomed by a packed audience for press night.
The story sees the four Pevensie siblings evacuated to a Professor’s house in the countryside, and immediately decide to explore the various rooms to keep themselves entertained. Lucy soon finds herself tumbling through an old wardrobe and into the snow-covered land of Narnia where talking animals are the norm, and the White Witch rules to ensure that it is always Winter but never Christmas – imagine that?!
When the other siblings are forced to believe that such a place exists, the four children are thrown into the midst of the battle with Aslan; thanks to the beautiful set design based around the revolving stage, the audience are taken on the journey with the characters. The storyline is jam packed full of allies, sword fights and Turkish Delight but sometimes felt a little rushed, meaning we didn’t get a chance to connect directly with each individual.
The cast made up of actor-musicians are full of energy, and having the piano and Musical Director on stage really adds another dimension to the production, especially in his moment as a startled squirrel! Various members of the cast take on the role of narrator as C. S. Lewis’ words are played out in front of us under O’Riordan’s direction, and brilliant performances in particular from Gwawr Loader as Lucy, and Keiron Self who interchanges between various roles.
Despite leaving the theatre feeling a little underwhelmed by the more subtle hints at magic, the majority of younger audience members seemed enthralled as the action unfolded, and this festive family show is full of catchy musical numbers and a stunning use of staging and lighting. A festive trip to Narnia is definitely worthwhile for the whole family if you have a spare evening this holiday season, people of Cardiff!
Images by Mark Douet.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe plays at the Sherman until the 31st December. Tickets and more info available here.