ArtsReviewTheatre

ATP opens the door to a magical, fantastical and fun night of theatre with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Caroline Russell-King shares her Postcard Review of ATP’s adaptation of the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe — the company’s highest selling show of all time.

Show: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Playwright/composer: Adaptation by Joseph Robinette based on the novel by C. S. Lewis.

Production company/theatre space: Alberta Theatre Projects, Arts Commons.

Length: Two hours (one intermission).

Genre(s): Fantasy.

Premise: Four children enter a magic kingdom through a wardrobe and learn about good and evil through epic adventures with a lion, a witch and the woodland creatures.

Why this play? Why now?: It truly is a family play with something for all ages — the old who remember the books from their youth and the young who are first encountering this classic tale.

Curiosities: I did contemplate for one mad moment how much it would cost to fit the theatre out with chairs that give mild electric shocks to the adults who videotape and shoot photos on their phones and iPads, stealing intellectual property, stealing focus from the lighting design and upstaging the actors.

Notable moment: Aslan’s entrance was indeed magical.

Notable writing: A faithful adaption.

Notable performances: Bruce Horak provides great gravitas and humour, and considering for one of these roles his body is almost entirely covered, this speaks to his talents in voice and physicality. David Sklar slinks and howls around the stage in a manner that could be inadvertently funny but thankfully keeps the menace and tension required. Mr and Mrs Beaver (Kevin Rothery and Elinor Holt) chew the scenery – in a good way.

Notable design/production: Standing O to Hanne Loosen (set and costume design) Siobhan Sleath (lighting design) and Alvin Siegfried (composition/sound design).

Notable direction: C.S. Lewis was talking of faith when he said, “There are better things ahead than those we leave behind,” but I can’t wait to see if shows get even better than this at ATP. Darcy Evans takes the audience through the wardrobe on a fantastical and fun journey.

One reason to see this show: Even though The White Witch seems to winning with the weather in Calgary, it’s well worth risking slippery roads and snowy sidewalks to visit this magical place that will melt away any holiday cynicism and restore your faith in the power of live theatre.

(Photo courtesy Ben Laird.)

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe runs at Alberta Theatre Projects until Dec. 29. For tickets and showtimes please go to albertatheatreprojects.com.

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here at www.carolinerussellking.com.

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