‘Always winter, never Christmas.’ The line that runs through this season’s offering at the Rose may unintentionally resonate with patrons. Kingston’s theatre hasn’t fared too well over the festive period in recent years – up against all-star pantos in neighbouring areas, their shows have rarely come up to the mark and the locals have invariably voted with their feet.
This year, however, things are set to change. Ciaran McConville’s production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ is a whirlwind through CS Lewis’s classic, remaining true to the tale but focussing on the book’s highlights to keep the kids interested. And from the very first few minutes, with a giant wardrobe dominating the stage, there are enough gasps, screams, roars and chuckles to match the best of the Christmas extravaganzas.
Songs are short and sweet and the set is magical – covered with mist and snowflakes which flutter from the roof. The adult cast are earnest enough with a stand-out White Witch, played by Kate Tydman, nasty without being too hammy nor too scary – although the scene at the stone table may have little ones peeping out between their fingers.
Yet it’s the support (in numbers) of the enthusiastic and thoroughly professional Rose Youth Theatre that makes this such an enjoyable romp for adults and children alike. Here’s a production that deserves a regular full house.
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