Look, this certainly wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, but the kids in the audience were loving it (even more so the kids actually in the production). I probably would have really enjoyed something like this as a child too so continue on amateur theatre!
Originally posted on The AU Review
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe musical, presented by the Chatswood Musical Society, is a delightful musical jaunt through C.S. Lewis’ classic tale that can be enjoyed by children and their parents alike.
The well-loved tale follows four siblings- Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who have been evacuated from London in 1940 as a result of World War II. Sent to the countryside to stay with a distant relative, the Professor Kirk, the four adventurous children spend their time exploring their new home. Lucy is the first to discover the mysterious wardrobe and open the land of Narnia. Upon returning to the land with her siblings, they discover that The White Witch has trapped the magical land in an unending state of winter. A prophecy states that when 2 sons of Adam and 2 daughters of Eve sit on the throne the Witch’s wintery reign will be over. The talking animals of the land believe the four siblings to be the children of the prophecy, and with the aid of Aslan the Great Lion the four bravely face the forces of evil and, in doing so, discover the power of family and friendship.
This production by no means has an extensive budget, but they obscure any sense of amateur with enthusiasm. Set design is simple, yet effective- changing from the Professor’s house, to the snow covered forest and lamppost, to Aslan’s camp, with a slight prop variation and lighting changes.
The cast is lead by the four siblings who, despite their youth, demonstrate a mature handle on both acting and singing. The four all manage to convey wonderful facial expressions, maintain an almost flawless British accent and comfortably sing their way through a surprisingly extensive song list with worthy vocal abilities. I really hope to see this young talent continue on the path of the growing scene of musical theatre in Australia. I’d love to see all of them perform again someday!
The four are accompanied on stage with a spattering of adult actors who manage to help support without overshadowing their younger counterparts. The appearance of the Beavers is particularly amusing, bringing much laughter to the children in the crowd (and on one particular joke about a flask bottle and a good nights sleep- a lot of the adults too).
A vast array of enthusiastic ensemble creatures fills out the stage- with colourful costumes and much dancing. Even the very young cast manage to pull off the movements to keep the performance running smoothly- a feat that is no doubt a testament to many dedicated hours of practice, practice, practice.
This magical tale has brought wonder to the hearts and minds of children, and it’s foray here onto the musical stage is a brilliant introduction of those same children to the wonders of musical theatre.
Actually, what particularly struck me at this musical production was that this was one of those performances that I would have loved as a child. My mother used to take me to such shows (and still does), and I always remember how magical I thought they were (and still do) and how special that mother-daughter time was (and is still) to us. Those performances helped develop my love of musical theatre and they are memories that I always treasure and remember.
It made me so happy to look around at all the families enjoying the show together, creating these kinds of wonderful memories. After all, you don’t always need to walk through a wardrobe to experience a little bit of magic.