One of the great strengths of this Leeds Playhouse production is what’s left to the imagination much like the novel by C.S Lewis first published more than 70 years ago.
It’s what we are left with long after the final curtain.
A puppet lion and a sinister dancing Turkish delight in the form of dancing red cubes are among the creative enchantments that spirit this diverse audience away for one of the greatest stories ever told. Perhaps the Christian allegory in the narrative allows the Lewis text to transcend popular ideas of the moment.
Aslan the lion is played by both Chris Jared and the puppet which help summon a sense of Christ’s divine and human nature. One memorable scene between Jez Unwin as Mr Tumnus and Karise Yansen as Lucy sets up the story well. There’s a palpable sense of darkness as the faun draws Lucy in until his guilt is too much to bear when manipulating her up to become a first victim of the White Witch. Samantha Womack doesn’t disappoint in the iconic role, her shrieking and quiet tempting are chilling.
There’s also a sense of fun with her antiquated Scottish accent in the role of Mrs Macready. Similarly Sam Buttery as Mr Beaver and Johnson Willis as Professor Kirk/Father Christmas deliver two wonderfully eccentric performances.
A special mention to illusionist and magician Chris Fisher, my daughter sat mesmerised asking “how did they do that” and the deep magic scene between the White Witch and Aslan is mesmerising. Leaving the theatre there was a further sense of magic as the snow began to fall in Tollcross.
An enchanted evening indeed.