The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe at West Yorkshire Playhouse

By December 11, 2017

Theatre & Dance. Leeds.

The cast of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. Photography by Birgit Ralf Brinkhoff

Photograph credited to Birgit Ralf Brinkhoff

Most people have heard of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. Four siblings; Peter, Lucy, Edmund and Susan, discover a magical land on the other side of their wardrobe where it is always winter, and never Christmas. Together they must defeat the evil White Witch to bring the seasons back to Narnia with the help of their newly-found woodland friends.

The main characters of Narnia are magical: Carla Mendonça as the White Witch is terrifying yet not too terrifying, making her the perfect baddie for the younger members of the audience. Peter Caulfield is an adorable Mr Tumnus and Iain Johnstone as Aslan has a fantastic gravitas and warmth. The trouble with the casting is the four siblings – each bring very little to the role and are irritating and unlikable. John Leader as Edmund appears floundering and weak, making his betrayal of his siblings unrealistic.

Despite the main four characters letting the side down a bit, the show is truly spectacular. Seeing West Yorkshire Playhouse put on a show in the round is an iconic moment and the direction by Sally Cookson makes this work magically. The trapdoors and clever set, designed by Rae Smith, is astounding and the whole show includes surprises from start to finish. From flowing snow to a constantly changing set, the audience is kept on their toes throughout. It’s a delight to watch and an absolute masterclass in how to create stage wizardry to bring the true magic of Christmas to life.

Catch The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe at West Yorkshire Playhouse until 27th January 2018.