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GSAL’s Narnia production – simply enchanting and a magical escape from our world

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Thank you to Year 11 student, Amber for her review of the recent GSAL production, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The past few years have seen great changes to our lives that at times have felt like a perpetual winter of gloom; however, GSAL’s production of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was simply enchanting; a magical escape from our world. It was wonderful to watch students from across all year groups unite after these difficult few years full of uncertainty, isolation and restrictions. The dedication and talent from everyone involved crafted this stunning play that brings the fantasy world of Narnia straight to our school theatre.

This adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ much-loved classic follows four children who are evacuated from London during the Second World War. Their new life in the Professor’s home is at first daunting but as the children begin to explore, they discover a strange wardrobe that leads them to another world, one full of snow and mystical creatures. Together, they help rid Narnia of the evil White Witch and put an end to her reign of eternal winter, never Christmas. This adventure shares a tale of courage, unity, and the power of magic.

The immersive experience began on the corridors of GSAL: wolves leaped out with bloodcurdling howls, reindeers joyfully wished you a ‘Merry Christmas’ and the beautiful melody of woodland nymphs all brought Narnia to life, before the audience even took their seats.

The play begins with the sound of piercing air raid sirens and a beautifully choreographed dance sequence of evacuee children with suitcases. We are then introduced to the four protagonists, the Pevensie children: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. They board the train, artfully created by polished synchronised movement. Then, they are welcomed to their new home by the stern Mrs Macready and her antithesis, the kindly, wise yet eccentric Professor whose convincing Scottish accent was fantastic.

All the Narnian favourites are portrayed to perfection including the bumbling, friendly faun Mr Tumnus, the hilarious married beavers, and the evil witch’s growling cronies. There was even a festive visit from Father Christmas! The White Witch herself is the embodiment of evil power. She enters the stage on her sleigh, and her shrieking laughter is truly frightening. Her only fear is the return of the all-powerful lion, Aslan. He is the true king and though he is wise and benevolent, his potent roar was felt across the theatre.

The play escalates to the dramatic fight scene: the children and good Narnian creatures consisting of leopards, eagles, centaurs and more, all battling the White Witch with her witches coven and wolf pack. The combat scene flowed with complex choreography across the entire stage – the entire cast produced an intense but brilliant final affect.

Throughout the production, the lighting and sound was flawless, creating a beautiful ambience with the use of the glitter ball adding a magical snow effect. The ingenuity of stage set and props were perfect and the backstage crew must be credited for their seamless transitions between scenes. Costumes and make-up artistically and accurately depicted 1940s England and the contrast of Narnia, bringing the fantastical creatures to life.

The entire cast, ensemble and production crew should be immensely proud of their fantastic achievement. Thank you to Miss R Bendelow and Mr S Reynolds who directed this sell-out production, ably assisted by three new members of GSAL staff: Miss Darlington, Miss Binks and Miss Grant. Also, a special mention to Ms T Nutt, technical director. The play took the audience somewhere magical and beautiful, and everyone involved deserves huge congratulations for bringing the return of live theatre to our school.

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