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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff? ????? YOU can always tell it's really getting near Christmas in Cardiff when the Sherman starts its annual cracking festive production.

Last year's sublime Arabian Nights and 2013's Sleeping Beauties were always going to be tough acts to follow.

And you could question the wisdom of tackling an adaptation of an iconic book that has already been well-served in screen versions - most notably the excellent first Chronicles of Narnia movie from 2005.

But bringing this text onto the stage opens up added dimensions of immediacy and intimacy to a magical story of childhood, imagination and the age-old battle between good and evil.

The ensemble troupe are enviably talented with each actor swapping effortlessly between dialogue, singing and even playing the instruments that create the discordant, angular music that sets so much of the distinctive tone of this story of four evacuees who find a portal to a magical world in the mysterious professor's house.

The li' The live music and the sheer quality of the acting... - and there really isn't one weak link in the cast - are the real strengths of a production that will delight Christmassy theatre-goers of all ages.

music and 'the sheer quality of the only nagging complaints were that the amount of plot to rattle through in less than two hours left little room for reflection or emotion.

the acting...

- are the real strengths of a production And while the sets and costumes were in the main sumptuously eye-catching - with everything from the intimation of the steam train at the start, the gorgeous backdrops and the outfit of Mr Tumnus the faun providing a visual feast for the audience - there were a couple of key dud notes. The wardrobe is so central to TLTWATW that it's a shame the one featured on stage wasn't more imposing, grander - a little more "magical".

that will delight This was still an engrossing, enjoyable and daring night of theatre.

If you're looking for a thoughtful, intriguing, idiosyncratic antidote to the usual panto fare, you could do worse than head for Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe runs at the Sherman Theatre until December 31. Call 029 2064 6900 Tryst Williams

The live music and the sheer quality of the acting... are the real strengths of a production that will delight '

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 11, 2015
Words:392
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