The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 3 Jan
If you’re in doubt about the Christian allegory lurking behind the Narnian fantasy of CS Lewis, just look at the treatment meted out to Daniel Williams as Aslan in this stage adaptation. Relinquishing power to Meg Fraser’s scarily off-kilter White Witch, he lets himself be tied in the shape of an inverted crucifix and finished off by her henchmen.
Some time later, he returns from the dead and is tended to by Susan and Lucy, ‘children of Eve’, telling these two latter-day Mary Magdalenes that he died for their brother’s sins.
Whatever your beliefs, it’s heavy stuff, which is why Mark Thomson’s production is pitched at an older-than-average audience, despite all its through-the-wardrobe magic. They won’t be disappointed by the snowy forest evoked by Ken Harrison’s set, the Potter-esque score by Philip Pinsky and the committed performances by the company, all of which do justice to the original.
Personally, I find it hard to engage with the priggish children, especially when the real power lies with Aslan and the White Witch, but that’s probably my class hatred speaking.