This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the invite of Birmingham Rep.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Jez Unwin talked about being part of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as it spends ten weeks at Birmingham Rep. Listen here:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains fighting and implies several deaths and a killing.
Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Birmingham Rep
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”A stunning experience”
Directed by Michael Fentiman, Based on the original production by Sally Cookson
1939: The four Pevensie children are sent to Scotland from London as evacuees just prior to the start of World War Two. Almost immediately as they arrive at the house of a Professor, the youngest Pevensie, Lucy (Kudzai Mangombe) discovers a snowy land within a wardrobe in a spare room. Sometime later, Edmund (Jerome Scott) enters the wardrobe himself and becomes enchanted by The White Witch (Cath Whitefield) and denies his and Lucy’s adventures to their brother Peter (Daniel Apea) and sister Susan (Liyah Summers).
This is a drama with music based on the much-loved C. S. Lewis novel from 1950. The music itself tells the story like folk songs with a very 1930s/1940s wartime style to both the costumes and the animal characters featured. Apart from headgear, there are no full-length character costumes to be found here. The result is a stripped-back story, which very much focuses on choreography and movement on stage. From the suitcases which turn into train carriages, to the huge cloth which descends from the rafters to form a bell tent homes, this production really leans into the idea of storytelling. There are even a few moments where the main characters talk directly to the audience later on which doesn’t feel out of place.
The music is wonderfully melodic and feels like one single song spread out into choruses and verses throughout the narrative with the musicians onstage for a huge amount of the performance.
Jerome Scott was excellent as Edmund, my favourite character dealing with Turkish Delight cravings and his own betrayal, but this is really an ensemble piece and Shane Antony-Whitely stands out as Maugrim racing around the stage with crutches as his front legs. Cath Whitefield is understatedly scary as The White Witch, Jadis, you really feel she could turn everyone to stone without any real reason.
The amount of violence and inferred death was a bit too much for younger audience members and I really feel that this might be challenging for quite an amount of those aged six and under. One small voice was particularly distressed behind me during later serious scenes and that made it a little uncomfortable. The running time sits at two hours and thirty minutes with a twenty-minute interval. The first half in particular lasts over one hour so it is worth knowing if your younger attendees can sit still for that long.
This production plays out beautifully with magical moments where characters vanish or appear right in the centre of the stage.
A stunning experience The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is at Birmingham Rep until 28th January 2024. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe/.