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Haymarket - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

4th December 2009 to 2nd January 2010.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Wintery alternative to panto

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, at The Haymarket, Basingstoke, on Saturday, December 12

This was the ideal solution for any parents becoming weary of the usual round of (over?)-familiar pantomimes.

A Christmas show with all the trimmings; a strong children's story, goodies and baddies, lots of brilliant lighting effects, glinting snowflakes falling though a colourful backdrop, animal characters and even a brief snapshot appearance by Father Christmas.

Hang about though, surely there is no Christmas in CS Lewis' Narnia, just permanent winter decreed by the wicked White Witch. Ah, but that is before our band of four young heroes, two male, two female, arrive on the scene, fresh from the wardrobe transport system and raring to link up with the goodies, to restore Christmas and peace and harmony to the region.

Of course, good prevails and the righteous triumph but not before coming up against a series of setbacks and near disasters. The story, adapted for the stage by Glyn Robbins, had good acting all round from the young heroes, Howard Sadler who doubled as the Professor and Aslan and Caroline Corrie who took on Mrs Macready and the White Witch.

Full marks to designer David Collis, lighting designer Stephen Holroyd and director Richard Williams, who secured good performances and also choreographed several short dance routines in the action sequences. It all moved at a fairly brisk pace and was visually a pleasure to watch.

My co-reviewer Elliott writes:

When I found out I was going to see The Lion The Witch &The Wardrobe, I was very excited. It was always one of my favourite stories as a younger child. I remember being engrossed in a magical tale of an icebound land, full of wonderful creatures and a wicked queen of ice and snow.

I thought it was spectacular. The beavers especially make it very funny and clever and at other points, such as the battle, it becomes deadly serious. It has moments of urgency, such as when the wolves come, and as far as I'm concerned if a play can do all that it's a runaway success.

I just really enjoyed it. It is definitely a family treat because there were children there from as young as four years old, laughing their little socks off. A sensational evening's entertainment.


There is a review by The Stage ("intriguingly staged production... there are moments when the different levels gel somewhat incongruously due to the use of diverse techniques... for a children’s Christmas show, the terrible consequences of the White Witch’s actions also seem like gratuitous violence for the sake of effect".)