The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe stars two excessively talented actors, a marvelous script, inventive technical design and a clever director, all waiting for you at Adventure Theatre MTC.
This parable about absolute good versus absolute evil couldn’t be more timely. Yes, parents can certainly take their children just to see a swashbuckling tale of four brave children defeating an evil witch, but it will also be a good springboard for conversations with the older kids about the need to do the right thing despite seemingly impossible odds. CS Lewis wrote the Narnia series, of which this is the first story, loosely based on New Testament stories, as a way for parents and children to talk and think about these larger questions in life.
It does help to be familiar with CS Lewis’ story but it isn’t strictly necessary: despite all the twists and turns, no one will get lost along the way.
The set by Luciana Stecconi looks simple enough: a huge wardrobe takes center stage in a pretty nursery room of blue patterned wallpaper. But as the lights dim, the wallpaper becomes transparent, and the outlines of winterbound Narnia, complete with trees, snowbanks and that incongruous lamppost, become visible through the scrim. It’s magical, and the beautiful brass chandeliers hanging just outside the proscenium make us feel we’re part of the scene.
Magic is a large part of this production, and the sleight of hand, aided by Magic Consultant Alex deTessieres is utilized beautifully. From handkerchiefs becoming birds to a wonderful and chilling scene in which Edmund is tempted by the White Witch with magical Turkish Delight candy, even the most jaded grownup couldn’t help but oooh and aaah at all the surprises. Costumes by Tyler Gunther were simple but effective, especially paired with gorgeous parasols-turned-masks by Puppet Designer Andrea ‘Dre’ Moore.
But all this beauty would go for naught if the right two people hadn’t been found to play Lucy and Peter (and a roomful of other characters, to boot). Audrey Bertaux plays Lucy, Witch, Wolf, et al; Chris Dinolfo is Peter, Edmund, Aslan the lion, and goodness knows who else. Dinolfo as whiny Edmund gets laughs just from a pair of oversized glasses and sheer body language alone; and as the White Witch, Bertaux is simply magnetic to watch in her super-evil wickedness.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
closes December 31, 2016
Details and tickets
Creatively directed by Tom Story, who is now starring in the solo play Fully Committed at MetroStage, a rocking horse becomes a team of reindeer, a tea set in a suitcase becomes a stand-in for Mr Tumnus’ cave. There’s no end of inventiveness to be seen.
This is anything but a ‘sit still and be quiet’ show. A battle was fought, it seems, both on and off stage the day this reviewer saw the show. When Mr Tumnus asks the audience whether he should tell the White Witch that Lucy is in Narnia, the house fairly erupted with “No!”s overriding the equally loud “Yes!”s. And a scene involving a snowball that gets bigger and bigger resulted in bigger and bigger laughs.
Magic, Good and Evil: CS Lewis’ perennial gift for those of us wishing to see beyond the plastic Santas and commercial overtones of the holiday season. Like the White Witch, it might threaten to rule us, but it can’t if we stand up to it.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis . Adapted by Le Clanche Du Rand . Director: Tom Story . Cast: Audrey Bertaux as Lucy, Witch, Wolf, et al; Chris Dinolfo as Peter, Edmund, Mr Tumnus, Aslan, et al . Movement Director: Elena Day . Costume Designer: Tyler Gunther . Scenic Design: Luciana Stecconi . Lighting Design: Sarah Tundermann . Sound Design: Kenny Neal . Properties & Puppets Designer: Andrea “Dre” Moore . Magic Consultant: Alex deTessieres . Produced by Adventure Theatre MTC . Reviewed by Jill Kyle-Keith.