Date published: Thu 29 Jun 2017
Author: S. Lawson
Category: Performing Arts
It is perhaps ironic that, during some of the hottest weather Britain has seen in the past 40 years, Whitgift’s Big School was transformed into the land of Narnia, where it is always winter (but never Christmas)!
This version of C.S. Lewis’ classic tale, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; dramatized by Adrian Mitchell, music by Shaun Davey; was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1998 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and from the packed-out audience each night, it was clear that the story has not lost its appeal. With something for everyone: action, adventure, fantasy and even humour dappled throughout the night, it was not only the acting and singing that was impressive, but also the masterfully-executed stage design, incorporating Whitgift’s first ever revolving stage.
The enchanting tale of the Pevensey children (played by Edward Volley, Scarlett Peachey, Leo Castledine and Suciyanna Saragih), finding an entrance to the magical land of Narnia at the back of a wardrobe, was a great choice to showcase the developing talents of one of the largest Lower School casts Whitgift has seen (in recent years). With the assistance of the endearing Mr Tumnus the faun (Sam Kelly), likeable Mr and Mrs Beaver (Kit Connor and Millieyanna Saragih) and the majestic Aslan (Sami Haddour); the White Witch (Sasha Willoughby), flanked by her dwarf aid, Grumpskin (James Desmier) and the rest of her army were defeated. With some truly catchy musical numbers, the audiences will no doubt find themselves humming ‘Turkish Delight’ and ‘Swiggle Down the Lot’ for days/weeks to follow.
The high-quality production is even more impressive when considering that the majority of the cast had not performed in a major Whitgift production before. We hope their experience encourages them to continue their involvement with future performances. This year’s cast included a significant number of boys and girls who are also a member of Whitgift’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (WAVPA).
Director, Mrs Miranda Merrett, praised all those involved: “I am enormously proud of the cast for everything they did to make the show so special. They perfectly captured the magic of Narnia and even managed to convince the audience that it was ‘always winter’ in the hottest week of the year!”
Long live the music, long live the magic, and long live the land of Narnia, too!
This final performance of the term, was a fitting end to a year of superb productions at the School, cementing Whitgift’s reputation for exceptional standards across the Performing Arts.