Review: Norwich audience go wild for roar-some fantasy stage adventure

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is coming to Norwich Theatre Royal. 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is at Norwich Theatre Royal until April 9 2022. - Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Spring might have sprung in Norwich but it is a frozen fantasy land which is proving a magnet for Norwich theatre-goers this week.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis' classic tale has been given a modern makeover as part of a new show which has hit Norwich Theatre Royal.

The Leeds Playhouse production has seen Samantha Womack ditch the dreariness of Walford for the sparkling snow of Narnia.

ELLIOTT & HARPER PRODUCTIONS AND CATHERINE SCHREIBER PRESENTTHE LEEDS PLAYHOUSE PRODUCTION OFTHE L

Former Game On actress Samantha Womack as the evil White Witch Ice Queen - Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The former Game On actress enchanted audience goers as the evil White Witch as well as casting spells on the talented young cast.

By the show's end the dramatic and iconic "doof doof" ending to an Eastenders episode was replaced by the rapturous applause of an ecstatic audience wild about what they had seen.

Siblings Lucy (Karise Yansen), Edmund (Shaka Kalokoh), Susan (Robyn Sinclair) and Peter (Ammar Duffus) waved goodbye to wartime Britain as they stepped through a wardrobe into a fabulous fantasy adventure.

ELLIOTT & HARPER PRODUCTIONS AND CATHERINE SCHREIBER PRESENT
THE LEEDS PLAYHOUSE PRODUCTION OF
THE L

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is at Norwich Theatre Royal until April 9. - Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Chris Jared excelled as the mane man, Aslan the lion, a spectacular half-puppet half-man-lion, beautifully brought to life on stage by the show's production team.

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It was one of a number of puppet performers which peppered the performance keeping alive the fantasy feeling as the production powered on towards its joyous climax.

There were brilliant beavers (Christina Tedders and Sam Buttery) a terrific Mr Tumnus (Jez Unwin) and the wonderfully eccentric Professor Kirk (Johnson Willis).

As ever at the Theatre Royal, there were stunning sets and stage design with the suitcases-cum-train carriages among the many highlights which helped to make fantasy a reality.

ELLIOTT & HARPER PRODUCTIONS AND CATHERINE SCHREIBER PRESENTTHE LEEDS PLAYHOUSE PRODUCTION OFTHE L

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe runs until April 9. - Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Add to that a fabulous musical score with violinists, pianists and various wood instrument players providing a sumptuous soundtrack which helped animate the action.

There were moments of magic too as well as a few frights which might mean this is a production more suited to older rather than younger children in the audience.

But it was a fantasy production which provided a much-needed window of opportunity to escape the troubles of modern life - be they at home or abroad - for a couple of hours at least.

ELLIOTT & HARPER PRODUCTIONS AND CATHERINE SCHREIBER PRESENT
THE LEEDS PLAYHOUSE PRODUCTION OF
THE L

Elliott & Harper productions and Catherine Schreiber present The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. - Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

And as the ovation given by audience goers at the end proved, this was a magical and simply roar-some production which must be seen to be believed.

The show runs until Saturday (April 9).

For tickets, go to www.norwichtheatre.org or call the box office on 01603 630000.