‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was written by Belfast-born Clive Staples Lewis and adapted for the stage by Glyn Robbins. C. S. Lewis was a writer, broadcaster and theologian. In 1914, a picture of a faun in the snow started his desire to write the seven volumes of Narnia. He began writing in 1939 but the first book – ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ – was not published until 1949. He wrote the allegorical Narnia books based on the fight between good and evil, with Christ being depicted by Aslan – c.f. the death and resurrection. This Oxford and Cambridge lecturer died in 1962 of kidney failure, the week before his 65th birthday and on the same day as President Kennedy was assassinated.
This bright and most enjoyable family extravaganza is mainly suitable for children over the age of 7 or 8. There are a couple of dark spots in the story, but no blood and gore – although the adults will appreciate the clever way it is depicted.
The show has been supported and presented by Koorliny Arts Centre and the Kwinana Industries Council under the watchful eye of production assistant Kai Thorpe.
This lively and fast moving, child-friendly 2-hour show (two 50-minute Acts with a 20-minute break) can be seen in Theatre 1 at the Koorliny Arts Centre, Sulphur Road, Kwinana, just 35 minutes from Perth.
The performances are at 7.30 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sundays until 23rd November, with matinées at 2.00 pm.
The scene: London, around the end of World War 2.
The set: was constructed by Kai Thorpe and Steven Correia, who were then helped in the painting by the cast.
The rear wall was impressive and striking, comprising a black textured surface – crumpled black bin bags? – with a three-metre, white circular moon in the centre. The large oak wardrobe had been modified to allow the ‘TIME TRAVEL’. The forest trees’ trunks were made of 3-metre PVC pipes which were convincing.
The stage managers were Rachel Monamy and Brittany Kirk, aided by Meg Manning and Samuel Kirk, who ensured slick scene changes and numerous entrances.
The imaginative and well filmed AV design was by Kai Thorpe and operated by Daniel Burton.
The realistic soundscape was carefully designed by Craig Griffen and mixed by Alex Coutts-Smith. Great work.
Daniel Burton’s lighting design was colourful and fun, with good handling of the snow scenes (loved the idea of fanning the snow – magical effect) and final Aslan scenes.
As bombs fall on London and searchlights chase planes across the night sky, four children with suitcases in hand are heading for the railway station. Like 100,000 other children over seven, these evacuees are heading to an unknown home in the country, to be looked after by people they have never met.
Soon the older and more reliable brother, Peter (Liam Gobbert) is knocking on the door of their new carer, the Professor (Kairen Thorpe). The door opens and they are greeted by the sour-faced, bad-tempered housekeeper, Miss Macready (Natalie Burbage). When she quotes the rules of the house, young Edmund (Taylor ‘Tay’ Broadley) is cheeky and his elder sister, Susan (Ruth Bennett) tells him to behave. The youngest sibling Lucy (Madeleine Shaw) stands looking petrified.
Lucy is fascinated by a wardrobe in the hallway and hides inside. Soon she finds herself in another world. One of snow and strange creatures. She meets a faun, Tumnus (Michael Schutte) who is half man and half goat. Tumnus explains that he has been sent by the wicked White Witch (Nat Burbage) who is desperate to kill Aslan (Kairan ‘Kai’ Thorpe) and become the Queen of Narnia.
The Witch’s sledge arrives accompanied by her Dwarf (Steven Correia) and chief ferocious wolf, Maugrim (Keenan Parish). At first the Witch tries to charm Lucy but becomes angry.
The children later meet the friendly Somerset couple, Mr Beaver (Aaron O’Neil) and his wife, Mrs Beaver (Katie E. Williams) along with Mr and Mrs Bear (Edan Frazer and Audrey Hall).
Will the evil witch capture the children? Will she become Queen?
The ensemble operated like a well-choreographed dance chorus, as they smoothly changed positions about the stage. This excellent troupe features Stephanie Beckham, Michael Carroll, Francesca Walker, Nikkita Poplar, Jordan D’Arcy, RP van Westhuizen and Abbey McCaughan. Impressive.
This vibrant musical adaptation by Irita Kutchmy was musically arranged and edited Kai Thorpe.
The large range of colourful costumes designed by Craig Griffen were beautifully constructed and fitted by the seamstresses, Kate McIntosh, Alexis Kirk, Katie E Williams, Margaret Willison and Frankie Walker.
The talented cast found the fine line between acceptable tension for the children and fear. Some great performances as the cast created excitement and a veritable zoo of creatures. This story is all about magic and thanks to Craig Griffen’s attention to detail and ingenuity, this show gave the audience plenty.
The puppets were designed and constructed by Craig Griffen, then dressed by Rachel Monamy, Brittany Kirk and the cast. The puppets ranged from 30 cms flapping butterflies made from multi-coloured Chinese fans, to a blue woodpecker and mice. Some of the larger puppets – 2 metres – such as the wolves, were on a simple fixed shape framework whilst the Beavers and Tumnus were most elaborate. Some adult sized puppets had hinged legs and arms; with the construction’s frame hooked onto the actor’s body, the limbs and the head were then controlled by the actors using rods and wires. Michael, Katie E, and Aaron had to carry these quite heavy animal frames on chest braces and then operating the movements in a human fashion whilst acting their speaking part.
All the major parts were performed with conviction and attitude, from Nat’s boo hiss nastiness to the warm caring animals. The delightful four children just glowed.
The lucky kids of Kwinana will love this production.