Theatre Review: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE – The Lowry, Salford

Shaka Kalokoh & Samantha Womack in THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Photo: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

From its clever puppetry to its strong cast performance, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is a visually stunning masterpiece of physical theatre.

5 out of 5 stars

Direct from London, the smash hit production of C.S. Lewis’ classic THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is back and at Salford’s The Lowry for Christmas!

The show opens with Vera Lynn classic WE’LL MEET AGAIN as Mrs Pevensie says goodbye to her four children. For those unfamiliar with the tale, the storyline entails a gigantic wardrobe taking the four Pevensie children, who are evacuees from London during the Blitz, into the world of Narnia.

This mythical realm suffers a never-ending winter due to the icy reign of the White Witch. The children’s arrival signals the beginning of a new age and, with the help of Aslan, The Great Lion and King of all Beasts, together they plan to defeat the queen and allow spring to return.

Karise Yansen, Robyn Sinclair, Shaka Kalokoh and Ammar Duffus play the parts of the four adventurous Pevensie children, Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter respectively. They are a strong quartet, together creating a believable sibling relationship. Kalokoh’s Edmund is a perfect big brother character, switching from an annoying sibling to a supportive and caring one by the end of the show.

Ammar Duffus & Chris Jared inTHE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Photo: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The show takes place within a vibrantly lit circular frame, seamlessly transitioning from the warm-yellow tones of normal life to a cool bright white for Narnia. A real stand out is the work of the Puppetry Director Toby Olie and Puppetry Designer Max Humphries.

From the clever train created from suitcases in the opening sequence, to the incredible Aslan brought to life by three puppeteers and actor Chris Jarad, every single puppet is visually stunning and cleverly delivered. Jarad’s portrayal of The Great Lion really brings across his character, and the puppet really allows you to really see and connect with his emotion at the time.

Samantha Womack gives a tremendous performance as the White Witch, getting across the cold, icy villain that she is. The character’s wispy, stern voice and her confident gliding across the stage really asserts her authority to the audience that this is her world, and nobody must take it away. The use of height in her staging is cleverly done, from her floating on her chariot to flying high above the audience, and really added to the wow factor this show oozes.

Samantha Womack in THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Photo: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

This production has so many elements. It’s a visually stunning masterpiece which uses every element of physical theatre to bring life to this powerful show. Throughout the cast are seamless and the character’s costumes are incredibly detailed. Every single one has been clearly and cleverly thought out, whilst still allowing your own imagination to wander – it’s not every day you see a beaver with a racquet for a tail! The beautiful designs add yet another stand out factor to this high-quality show.

This critically acclaimed, high-end, enchanting production is simply magical. Head to Salford this Christmas and let your imagination run away with you… we were all children once, after all.

THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE runs at The Lowry, Salford until 15th January 2022.