18th Jun 2012 9:57am | By Louise Kingsley
The snowy kingdom of Narnia comes to Kensington Gardens courtesy of Threesixty Theatre in an outsize tent which, thankfully, proved remarkably warm and dry on a chill, rain-soaked weekend.
Rupert Goold’s adaptation of C.S.Lewis’s classic 1949 children’s story (which he also co-directs) relies heavily on overhead wraparound projections to create the ice-bound country of perpetual winter, discovered by accident by wartime evacuee Lucy (and later her three siblings) when she hides away in a wardrobe.
Like the cave paintings which decorate the home of Mr.Tumnus the faun (Forbes Masson) they’re attractive, but far from stunning. Mrs Hedgehog’s attire looks simultaneously soft and spiky, but the raggle-taggle costumes sported by Mr & Mrs Beaver barely capture the essence of these industrious creatures. Aslan, though, is rather magnificent. With his voice pre-recorded by David Suchet and his structure owing a sizeable debt to the wonderful War Horse, this benevolent lion is an emaciated, skeletal giant of wood and bark, his mane a mass of autumnal leafy twigs and his roar enough to put fear in the hearts of the youngest members of the audience.
Stilt-walking trees and aerial spins add a touch of the circus, but it isn’t till after the interval that the production really takes off as the battle between good and evil (in the shape of the White Witch) is fought to the death and beyond and Aslan makes the ultimate sacrifice.
Kensington Gardens W8 4PT
Tube | High Street Kensington
Until 9th September | £25 -£65