The Lion, The Witch And the Wardrobe At The Lowry – Review

*We were invited to see the production as press, but this is my honest review

On Thursday we went to our first proper theatre show since Covid 19 arrived on our shores and I don’t mind telling you, I cried so much that my mask was stained with mascara.

For the most part, I sat with Dorothy on my lap.   She’s really struggled to recover emotionally since our family’s brush with Covid in July and being around a crowd of people was a bit much for her at times.  Sat there with her little arms around my neck, the poignancy of a story about a land thats lived through 100 years of fearful Winter wasn’t lost on me.  Indeed the first tears pricked when Mr Tumnus sang about how beautiful Narnia used to be and how he longed for Springtime.

I was so happy to be sat in a theatre – flip down seats and poor attempts at quietly fishing Maltesers out of a crinkly bag – normality.  But when I cried it was because The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was so incredibly beautiful that it felt like it had come from a dream.

The acting was superb – Samantha Womack was both terrifying and lonely as the white witch, she really did take my breath away.  The beavers gave us one liners we’ll be quoting for years to come and the human version of Aslan was almost more ‘lion-like’ than the incredible puppet that moved alongside him.  But the children were my favourite.  Although they were played by grown ups, Lucy, Peter, Susan and in particular Edmond embodied all the complexities of pre-teens – the angst and self consciousness, the lingering playfullness of childhood and the instability of when one is both child and adult depending on the moment.  Remarkable.

The quality of the acting was met comfortably by the sets and costumes,  I’ve been lucky enough to see some incredible stage shows in my life and honestly this was up there with them.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had a subtle steam-punk feel to it but the use of texture and light was what really brought the story to life.  There were moments when I felt the chill of a Narnia Winter on the back my neck.

Now what you really want to know – should you bother going out in the cold and (probably) rain to see this.  Yes – with one caveat.  This isn’t a show for under fives and you should prepare younger children for a scary bit.

Before we visited the Lowry I did some research..  It’s made very clear that there are scary elements to this production and that it may not be suitable for children aged five and under – I’d say this was pretty accurate.  I spoke to Dorothy about the scary moments in the story and came up with a plan for what she’d do if she felt afraid.  We decided she’d snuggle into my shoulder and I’d cover her eyes until the moment had passed.  The scary part is when Aslan is killed and it is really remarkable how they were able to capture the horror of the moment on stage.  It’s a visually scary moment so when Dorothy looked away she was ok and after a few minutes (although it felt like an hour at the time!), the moment had passed.  This worked well for us but the show may not be suitable for childrenyounger than Dorothy.

We loved it.  Phill said it was as good as War Horse – I thought it was better (sorry War Horse) and from now on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be one of those productions that I compare others to.  Is this production as good as that night we went to Narnia?  I think it will be a while before we see a show that is.

What a treat to have seen this – what an absolute privilege. Please get yourself a ticket if you can, they can be bought here

Love Rachel ❤


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