The Maltings Youth Theatre takeaudience on an adventure to Narnia
A young cast but a mature and intelligent performance: the Maltings Youth Theatre's production of the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe was clever and compelling.
Atmospheric lighting and special effects; eerie music and the innovative use of actors to provide a living set combined to create a magical and dramatic piece of theatre.
Many of the performers – having risen through the ranks of director Wendy Payn’s weekly drama classes – are accustomed to the stage and so it showed. Confident and accomplished acting from everyone involved made this a real team effort.
Ages ranged from 14 upwards and it was some of the newest members of the group who took on principal roles.
Amy Kenneally and Nathan Landon were flawless as soppy Lucy and unruly Edmund, while Georgina Faed was wonderfully prim and sensible as big sister Susan. Rory Hamilton perfectly captured proper and brave Peter – it was as if they’d stepped straight out of the 1950s.
Convincingly chilling as the White Witch, Clarissa Lauder Frost was ice-cool but equally commanding was David Simpson as wise and noble Aslan. Indeed, there were so many stars in this performance: growly Maugrim (Stanley Betts) and his scary sidekick wolf (Siobhan Bankier); jumpy Mr Tumnus (Archie Beattie); bossy Mrs McCready (Ruth Bolam); the elusive professor (Sean Mwachilenga); and many others. Flashes of comedy were provided by Oliver Payn and Xenia Garden who were brilliant as Mr and Mrs Beaver and jolly Santa (Paddy Joe Flannigan) put in an appearance. The animals were beautifully observed and even the trees were skilfully mimicked – moving inconspicuously around the stage and generating an air of mystery.
Credit must be given to Wendy, Ross and their team for such an imaginative interpretation of this classic story, adapted from the CS Lewis novel by Glyn Roberts. But it was the dedication and artistry of the players themselves which stood out. If they keep this up, they’re in danger of giving young people a good name.