Last week I went to Narnia, not literally, although it almost felt like it. The brilliant performance of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is on at The Bridge Theatre over the festive season and a great one to go and see.
As in the beginning of the famous story, we began our experience immersed in World War 2. Rather than theatre staff showing us to our seats, we were greeted by a friendly soldier who handed us our evacuation cards. The live band were already playing appropriate music which really helped to add to the atmosphere and got everyone excited for the upcoming performance. It was a really nice addition to the evening and helped to make it feel a bit more special.
Once the show started the whole audience was immediately captivated, partly because the theatre is brilliantly designed so you have a great view wherever you’re sat. The set was amazing and I loved the way they transformed the stage from the big old house to Narnia. Without giving too much away, the snow is represented by huge sheets of white fabric that the actors bring to the stage, through the audience, from all angles. In less than a minute, they move magically to transform the whole feel of the performance, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Another highlight was the costumes, I particularly loved the White Witches wardrobe, she was essentially a walking fashion show! There are a couple of songs interspersed throughout the show which really add to the atmosphere in a clever way that doesn’t make it feel like a light-hearted musical.
The performance is so creative which is wonderful but does mean one particular scene is slightly intense. The combination of the lighting, music and puppets for the (spoiler!) death of Aslan the lion makes me think it’s probably too scary for any kids under nine. There are also a few slightly weird elements to the show, which is probably expected considering it’s about a magical world in a wardrobe with talking animals, but just something to bear in mind.
As I mentioned, the theatre itself is great. The location along the river is lovely, the foyer is welcoming and impressive and there are plenty of great restaurants nearby. We went to Rosa’s Thai but if you’re feeling fancy, The Ivy is just next door and Pizza Pilgrims is a 5-minute walk away by London Bridge station.
Overall, I loved the show, it was creative, innovative and brilliant. At 2 hours and 40 minutes (with a 20 minute interval), it is quite long so probably not great if your kids are fidgeters. However, the show is so engaging I’d be surprised if it doesn’t captivate everyone’s attention. It was so magical, I think I’ll definitely have to visit Narnia again sometime soon!