Pacific Theatre
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe adapted by Ron Reed from the novel by C.S. Lewis

Dates and Venue November 30 – December 29, 2018 at 8pm Wed – Sat + 2pm Sat matinees | Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Avenue

Director Sarah Rodgers Set Design Lauchlin Johnston Props Design Dianna Lewis Sound Design Julie Casselman Lighting Design John Webber Costume Design Sheila White Stage Manager Linnea Perry

Reviewer John Jane

This Pacific Theatre remount of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is based on C.S. Lewis’s novel about four siblings evacuated from London during the Second World War. Staying at an uncle’s house in the country they come upon a magical wardrobe that provides a portal to the phantasmagorical world of Narnia. Ron Reed’s resourceful adaptation for the small stage, is by virtue of its desideratum, a pared down production. Director Sarah Rodgers has set the action in 1962; twelve years after C.S. Lewis wrote the original story.

Roughly twenty years on, Lucy and Peter (Rebecca de Boer and John Voth) find themselves back at the same house to find that all the furniture in the spare room covered with protective furniture sheets. In removing the white covers, they begin to relive the magical sojourn they shared with their other siblings, Edmund and Susan in real time. The story of how they entered Narnia and met the White Witch, Tumnus the faun, Mr and Mrs Beaver and Aslan the lion is retold through their joint recollections.

Strikingly physical, Rebecca de Boer and John Voth simultaneously narrate the story and take on the roles of the “daughters of Eve and sons of Adam” (Narnia-speak for humans) as well as all the mythical creatures. Images of Narnia are evoked through skillful storytelling, and with the help of an assortment of fur coats, accomplished stagecraft.

Sarah Rodgers has put together a talented creative team, but also manages to sustain a lively pace that still allows the primary story to be told through the actors’ performance. While not visually graphic, the production gives the audience the opportunity to witness the magic through their own imagination.

There were a number of children in the audience. I would hope that this theatre experience motivates them to borrow C.S. Lewis’s novel from the library to read on their own.

© 2018 John Jane