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By Ian Dipple Monday 04 February 2013 Updated: 04/02 12:28
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Friday, February 1
Palace Theatre, Redditch
PALACE Youth Theatre's innovative interpretation of CS Lewis' classic may not have had the big budget of some of the many other versions of this play I have seen, but it deserves its place among them nevertheless.
A particular highlight was the use of people as scenery, with extras posing as tables, chairs and even picture frames, offering a unique feel to the performance. The death of Aslan the Lion and the final fight scene were also imaginatively choreographed, delivering the full impact of the battle scene despite the spatial restrictions.
This was one of the youngest casts ever assembled for a Palace Youth Theatre show but they did themselves tremendous credit.
The role of Lucy is key as it drives the whole play as ultimately it is she who first discovers the world through the wardrobe, so there was a lot of pressure on ten-year-old Sadie Fitzgerald. But she pulled it off with a performance beyond her years, capturing a wonderful childhood innocence which makes Lucy so believable and endearing, and putting in a fine vocal performance for one so young.
Praise also for Alex Cottom who as Edmund brought a wonderful bratish quality, so needed to ensure the audience empathises with his redemption later on.
Jacob McGarry and Lydia Brocklebank also turned in confident performances as older siblings Peter and Susan.
Ben Adams and Rosie Hodgetts as Mr and Mrs Beaver brought some wonderful comic relief to the show, Daisy Bonehill had great presence as Aslan while Elle Cross was every bit as commanding, convincing and scary as any other version of The White Witch I have seen portrayed and deserved her chorus of boos at the end (in a good way).
My personal favourite was Kieron Hoult who played the professor with a delightful eccentricity - exactly the way I imagined him to be when reading the book as a child.
In fact there were too many fine performances to mention. This production was a delight to watch and showcased the best of our young people.
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