Crit from NODA
National Operatic & Dramatic Association London Region
Society : Forum Players
Production : The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Date : Friday 20th May 2011
Venue Bourne End Community Centre
Report by : Rita Carpenter
FRONT OF HOUSE AND PROGRAMME
We were warmly welcomed on arrival and. I was able to have a chat with Director Anthony Deacon before the start of the performance. Infused with enthusiasm he told me the children are usually only able to take part in the pantomime but as there are so many he wanted to give them a show of their own. We discussed the possibility of him starting a Youth Group and he said he was thinking about it. It would be really great if we had a youth group in 11a.
STAGING AND SET
Not an easy story to stage and with 20 changes the stage crew were kept busy throughout. Set construction by Graeme Robinson, Steve Phelps, Anthony Deacon Nigel Hunt, Roger Clarke Lawrence Huxley and Rick Accastello was well thought out with extremely good art work. The group are restricted in that they have to use the community centre but they made the most of what resources they had to stage a very clever interpretation of C S Lewis' famous story which was adapted by Glyn Roberts.
SOUND AND LIGHTING
The lighting plots by Lawrence Huxley and Steve Phelps were well thought out and there was effective use of spots all creating an atmosphere and achieving ideal situations throughout, effective but unobtrusive. The sound effects by Graham Hyde and Jessica Robinson were superb. The birdsong, the sounds of the thaw when Spring arrived, the growling of the leopards and the howl of the wolf were brilliantly rendered and whenever Aslan roared it demonstrated his power perfectly.
Wendy Keeble together with club members should be complimented on their authentic costumes. The animals were delightful, the Snow Queen gorgeously attired and Aslan's costume was cleverly designed. Sally Joseph Green and other club members were responsible for the skilful makeup, I am sure all the characters were delighted with the way they looked and this added to their performances.
Because of the number of children and the director wish to give them all an opportunity to perform several of the characters were doubled up with some children playing the roles on Friday and the others on Saturday. It would be unfair to mention only those I saw as I am sure they all did well so I will generalize as far as the doubled up roles were concerned. Sam Dean made a fine Peter the eldest of the children and their leader and his fight scenes were impressive. Susan was well played by Ellie Jones as the big sister endeavouring to keep the peace between the siblings. Edmund was alternately played by Ben Sendall and Charlie Harris the one we saw was suitably impressive as the nasty brother who was always getting into trouble. Lucy the youngest was delightfully played by Rachel Hufflet and Charlotte Robinson. The White Witch stunningly attired had a stately presence and was chillingly evil the part was played by Gorgia Barker Wright and Hollie Hudson The Witch's evil henchmen Aaron Deacon as Maugrim, Kyle Tapping Baccus and Chloe Robinson were impressive.. The two beavers were charming Mr Beaver played by Georgia Fisk and Jacob Deacon and Mrs Beaver by Carin Ryall and Lauren Macaree. Steve Phelps made an appealing Father Christmas and the effectively clad leopards in the guise of Henrietta Joseph Green, Alex Huxley, Shona McCready and Shannon Barker were accomplished. Charlotte Boseley played the wolf with panache and the dear little creatures in the guise of Jake Robinson Ben Sendall and Charlie Harris were delightful. A special mention must go to Chris Perry for his portrayal of the lion Aslan .He was majestic with a noble stance and carried his part to perfection. The giant Rumblebuffin was amusing (or at least his feet were) and his booming voice gave the impression of a very large giant.
Anthony, you deserve credit for the well rehearsed and well disciplined cast of children. Lastly, I really enjoyed Barking Mad which you wrote and look forward to the psychological thriller you have written which will be staged in the Autumn.
"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C S Lewis is a classic tale of four children discovering the magical world of Narnia and being part of a huge adventure to defeat evil and allow everyone to live in harmony. Members of Forum Players agreed that this was the perfect spring show for their young members who had loved being part of the annual pantomime production.
Anthony Deacon took on the production assisted by Jessica Robinson. Both knew the story and its popularity with children of all ages. Over many years there had been various stage, television and film interpretations of the stories from "The Chronicles of Narnia" of which "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is just one.
The Snow Queen who keeps Narnia trapped in winter
When it came to auditions the producers were faced with the problem of four leading roles and a large number of young people auditioning for the parts. Everyone had strengths and abilities ideally fitted to the roles. "So I decided that we should try something a bit different" Anthony Deacon explained. "For eight of the characters I have cast two actors".
At the front of the wardrobe are two Lucys with Susan and Edmund
Rehearsals are going well. On stage the magical story is being brought to life by a talented team of young people with a united commitment. Costumes are being created by Wendy Keeble to transform young members into the characters of Aslan, the great lion, the icy Snow Queen, as well as the animal creatures who inhabit the land of Narnia.
Anthony believes that the show will be amazing and memorable. He has great faith in the young people involved and he's hoping that there will be good audiences to see how talented they are. Forum Players stalwarts Brenda and Steve Phelps have characters roles in the show and are enjoying working with the young members.
Aslan the lion who returns to free Narnia
The production is in the Centre Theatre at the Community Centre. Tickets are available in the library and the show has a free performance for senior citizens on Wednesday 18 May at 8pm. Then on Friday 20 May there's a performance at 8pm. As it is a children's show, on Saturday 21 May there are shows at 2.30 and 6.30pm - just like panto timing. Ticket prices are £8 for adults and £6 for children.
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