The holiday season always brings an extra big selection of family shows to local stages, and it can be difficult to decide which to see. Well, I’m about to make it a little easier for you with this: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre should definitely make the cut.
This unique take on the C.S. Lewis classic literally tells the tale of the four Pevensie siblings’ well-chronicled adventures in Narnia. The play begins with Lucy and Peter actually relaying the story to the audience years later, then recreating it for us as we’re drawn into the wardrobe — and back to that time — with them and the several other characters in the show.
Yet, there are only two actors in this production. If you’re wondering how they can possibly pull this off, the quick answer is a fantastic balance of great acting, clever stage direction, creative costumes and props, a well-designed (and beautiful!) set…and a little magic.
Dazzling tricks and neat surprises keep the audience delighted during the adventure as the brothers and sisters enter the land of Narnia, eventually encountering and battling the White Witch along with Aslan the lion. And while the hour-long play doesn’t capture all of the details, it still gets to the pulp of the story — and with fun, imaginative flair.
One of my favorite aspects of the show was interaction with the audience. From the very beginning, Lucy and Peter turn around with surprise to see us there. Our presence is what actually launches them into their story, and they continue to engage throughout. They reach their hands out to people, ask us to weigh in on decisions, even listen to a little girl in the front row as she unexpectedly reveals Lucy’s location during a game of hide and seek.
When I asked Owen and Sasha about their favorite parts, she named that very game, and he described a snow ball fight. Mine was the moment Narnia was revealed, and we saw the ingenuity of the set. We all agreed, though, there were loads of great moments we could have chosen.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is running at Adventure Theatre through December 31, with both weekday and weekend performances. Tickets are $19.50 and can be purchased in advance online or by calling 301.634.2270.