The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe UK Tour Review - Mayflower, Southampton

 Everyone knows the tale of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story of four intrepid explorers that venture into the back of a mothball filled wardrobe and into a world where time flies, creatures talk, and it's been winter for over 100 years. It's a tale that myself and Max have been reading for a while as whilst it isn't necessarily a Christmas tale, it does get you into that festive mood. 

Taking on this mammoth book by C.S Lewis and turning it into a stage play is no mean feat. With a magical wardrobe, statuesque lion, and menacing witch, it's hard to see how something so spectacular on the page can still keep its essence of innocence and bravery on the stage. But this show breathes a new life into this story and brings it alive in ways that we could have never imagined. 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe took to the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton stage and boy was it a show to remember. 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe tells the tale of 4 siblings, taken to live in a large old country house during a wartime evacuation. Whilst under the care of an eccentric professor, his strict assistant and adorable cat, the youngest of the four, Lucy finds herself drawn to the back of an old wardrobe. Only to find herself stepping into the cold and wintry world of Narnia. A land where time works differently, animals can talk, and to be a human is unheard of. Amazed and in awe, Lucy convinces her siblings to step into the wardrobe and see this magical world for themselves. But no sooner do they step into the wardrobe, they are just as quickly thrown into a war that is raging between Aslan the great lion and the wicked White Witch.

The story weaves in stunning staging, with utterly brilliant puppetry and music that will leave you spellbound. I'm honestly amazed that the creative team managed to squeeze in as many special effects as what they did, without making it appear like a gimmick or cheesy. They struck the balance between marvel and class and truly left Max and I with our jaws on the floor. The way that small items were used with such big effects was marvellous. From suitcases portraying a train taking the children away, to the billowing dress that the White Witch wears that looms across the whole stage, everything seemed perfect and precise and I couldn't take my eyes off the stage.  

I couldn't fault the casting of this show. With Samantha Womack taking the role of the witch until it was so sinister it was scary, and Chris Jared taking on the role of the powerful and strong leader of the opposition Aslan, they paired together so well. I adored Jez Unwin who took to the stage as Mr Tumnus and Sam Buttery and Christina Tedders who embodied the roles of Mr and Mrs Beaver with such humour and sincerity that you rooted for them as soon as they spoke. However the standout's for us were definitely Karise Tansen, Robyn Sinclair, Shaka Kalokoh and Ammar Duffus who portrayed the four Pevensie siblings who take us on the adventure of a lifetime. 

The cast adapt to each character they play with such ease and added music and instrument playing to the list, it was reminiscent of when I saw Amelie on stage. With the cast weaving in and out, singing folk songs that felt timeless and playing melodies that get stuck in your head. It was a show that sprinkled magic on stage and left both children and adults in awe of what they were watching. 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a show that not only will warm your heart, take you away to a new world and capture the imagination of your whole family. It's a show that is perfect for young and old alike and will either get you feeling festive, or feeling warm and fuzzy. A show that will be forever remembered whilst you tuck into some marmalade cake, or Turkish Delight. A show that transports you into a world you have heard of in a way that you could never imagine seeing on stage. A show not to be missed.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is showing at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton until 27/11/2021 and then continues on a UK tour including cities such as Cardiff, Nottingham and Glasgow. 

*Please note, I was provided tickets for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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