The stage was set, the lights dimmed, and the audience waited with bated breath as the classic tale of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” came to life at RSD. Directed by Mr McDowell with the assistance of Miss Anderson and Mrs Trouton, this production managed to capture the hearts of both young and old, offering a captivating and enchanting experience for all who came to watch.
The first thing that struck about this performance was the set design. The wardrobe, from which the magical land of Narnia is accessed, was both visually stunning and full of secrets. The moment the children stepped through it; the audience was transported into the mystical world of Narnia. The snow-covered set pieces, the lamppost, and the White Witches sleigh, created a mesmerising atmosphere that truly captured the essence of CS Lewis’ masterpiece.
The cast of young actors displayed remarkable talent and dedication. The Pevensie siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, played by Stephen Wylie, Grace Wylie, Jamie Creaney and Zuzanna Styczkiewicz, delivered performances that were beyond their years. Their chemistry and commitment to their roles were evident throughout the play. In those opening scenes we also saw The Professor, played by Caleb Thompson, and Mrs Macready, played by Joanna Ashfield, who certainly had her rules which she tried to strictly enforce.
The charismatic faun, Mr. Tumnus, portrayed by Mia Cassidy, was endearing and added a whimsical touch to the story. Father Christmas, played by Zachary Rooney, also played an important part in the overall story.
In the woods, whilst Edmund had become the White Witches servant, the other three children were assisted on their journey by Mr Beaver, a role shared between CJ Gervin and Alex Jackson, and Mrs Beaver, played by Sophie-Jean Knox.
The true star of the show, of course, was Aslan the lion, brilliantly brought to life by Ben Cooper. His portrayal of the majestic and wise lion was nothing short of breathtaking. The audience could feel the power and nobility of Aslan, and the emotional connection was palpable. Aslan’s interactions with the children and his ultimate sacrifice were some of the most moving moments of the performance.
The White Witch, portrayed by Jayne Courtney, was equally impressive. Her icy demeanour and menacing presence sent shivers down the audience’s spine. Her performance, combined with her entourage of eerie creatures, added an extra layer of suspense and danger to the plot. Olivija Bilyte as Maugrim, brought particular additional threat and menace to the White witch’s rule.
For me one of the many characteristics of RSD productions over the years has been the role played by those in the background of scenes who are always actively acting and when they come to the fore, they carry out their role perfectly and add to the overall production. This year the dwarf, played by Megan Chambers, the leopards, played by Elena Watson and Charlotte Kennedy, the wolves, played by Bethany Jackson, Darcie Knox and Daniel Needham, the White witches other soldiers played by Karla Millar and Valkaris Deltuva, the Statue or Aslan’s animal soldiers played by Zachary Rooney, Joanne Ashfield, Caleb Thompson and Grace Conway, the mouse played by Rachael Wiggam and the big booming voice of Giant Rumblebuffin provided by Nigel Mataia, all added significantly to the overall performance.
As usual the cast was a mixture of the old and the new, with some making their first appearance on an RSD stage.
No production can go on stage without a well organised back stage team. The costumes and makeup were well-executed, adding to the authenticity of the characters. The various mythical creatures, from fauns to talking animals, were intricately designed and truly brought the magical world of Narnia to life. As well as the costumes, the authenticity of the production was assisted by the wonderful hair and make up team. Sound and lighting are an important part of any production and the team executed this perfectly, as did the stage management group as they moved scenery and props around efficiently coping with the many scene changes.
The direction and choreography of the production team: Mr McDowell, Miss Anderson, Mrs Trouton and Mrs Matthews, were impeccable. The battle scenes between Aslan’s forces and the White Witch’s minions were well-orchestrated and visually stunning. The pacing of the play was also well-maintained, ensuring that the audience remained engaged throughout.
My thanks to all the pupils and staff (front and back stage) who produced four excellent public performances, first for the local primary school children and then for the general public over three nights. The Board of Governors have also asked me to pass on their congratulations to everyone involved in the production.
In conclusion, the RSD dramatic societies’ production of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was a magical and enchanting journey into the world of Narnia. The cast and crew managed to capture the spirit of CS Lewis’ beloved story, transporting the audience to a world filled with wonder, adventure, and the enduring message of hope and redemption. This performance was a testament to the talent and dedication of RSD’s young actors and their commitment to bringing classic literature to life on the stage. A very well done to everyone!
– Review by Ellie McGuigan (Year 13)