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The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Adapted by Glyn Robins from the classic children’s book by C.S.Lewis, the story of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe is familiar and loved by most adults and children alike, and fans of the book would not have been disappointed by the terrific performance by The Supernovas last night. Each and every one of the young people on stage should be immensely proud of themselves and ready to repeat the show at today’s matinee.

The Supernovas are a group of talented young performers that meet every Thursday to eat biscuits, meet new friends and do a bit of drama. Only recently formed in September 2017, they made their spectacular debut performance at the Mowlem Theatre, singing a selection of songs from Matilda the musical in the SDC Children in Need Variety Show. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe is their first full-length production and hopefully the first of many.

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, four evacuees from London, journey through the wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia where it is always winter but never Christmas. Will they manage to rescue Lucy’s friend Mr Tumnus from the wicked clutches of the White Witch? Maybe Aslan, the King, the Lord of the Wood will rise again to help them.

The set was magnificent, designed by Brian Travers and constructed with his team of Lennon Yates, Nick Field and Jonathan Searle, clearly a pivotal element of any show but especially imbedded in a story of fantasy where the audience must believe that they have been transported into the world of Narnia with the cast. Much care and attention has been given to the winter wonderland scenes, ensuring snowfall and atmosphere whilst maintaining a practical, workable area for the young performers.

Costumes, the work of Anne Peden and House of Swanage Drama Company were magnificent, appeared spectacular to the audience and yet still practical for the cast, two things which all too often do not go hand in hand, and can often cause huge disruption, which just continues to illustrate the attention to detail by the company.

However, none of this would be of any use whatsoever if the show had not been blessed with a plethora of fantastic young talent. Special mention goes to young Lucy, played by Ruby Christmas, whose natural and commanding on stage presence was an utter delight, alongside her stage-siblings Peter (James Carter-Hobbs), Susan (Jessica Stearn) and Edmund (Anthony Ayles) providing sterling performances. Ava Muir appeared to fully embrace her role as Aslan, a friend to the children yet a fearless King fighting the evil of Narnia, namely The White Witch (Amelia Seamen) who brought a chilly atmosphere to her character with her excellent facial expressions.

For a first ever dramatic performance by this new young company, it was an absolute triumph which can only have been achieved by the astute insight of the director (Victoria Jones) to utilize the individual children’s talents, to have nurtured and developed their strengths to the collective good of the play.

My only disappointment was that there was not a full house – what does it take to get people to the theatre? That’s a question we’d all like the answer to.

So, if there are seats left for today’s matinee, you’d be missing out if you didn’t go.

Well done everyone involved.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe plays at the Mowlem Theatre Swanage for a Matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday 12th May 2018.