There was a truly magical ‘Battle for Narnia’ on Thursday evening in the Chaplin Theatre. First the Year 5&6 pupils performed ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, taking us all on the exciting adventures of the four evacuees – brave Peter (Henry P), sensible Susan (Elizabeth O), naughty Edmund (Albie G) and sweet Lucy (Camilla B). Frightened by the horribly bossy Mrs Macready (Hannah Q), the children venture through the Professor’s Wardrobe (James L) into the icy territory of the wonderfully scary White Witch (Elizabeth G). There they meet the charming Mr Tumnus (Arthur P), the delightful pair of beavers (Monty G and Clara F) and even Father Christmas (Sebastian B), who gives them the weapons that will enable good to triumph. The Witch’s evil sidekicks were played with horrible aplomb by Elizabeth H (the Dwarf) and Charlie P (Maugrim the wolf). Connie M and Sebastian B donned the beautiful leopard masks and the great King Aslan was a wonderfully poised and authoritative Faris A.
After delicious refreshments in the Front Hall, which had been transformed into a snowy Narnian landscape, listening to Mrs Glossop’s handbell group and Alex W on the piano, the packed audience returned for ‘The Horse and his Boy’. This is the wonderful story of young hero Shasta (Billy M) who discovers he is not the son of a poor fisherman (Sam H) but is about to be sold to the terrifying Lord Rabadash (Noah G). Planning his escape he teams up with the magnificent warhorse Bree (Joe P) and meets the feisty Taarqueena Aravis (Mary KB) and her lovely steed Hwin (Poppy DB). On their terrifying journey to Narnia, they encounter Edmund (Francis C at the dress rehearsal but me on the night squeezed into his costume, fighting ridiculously and reading from the script!), Susan (Ottoline G) and Tumnus (Dexter B), who are visiting the land of Calormen to meet Susan’s admirer; they are also pleased to see Aravis’s old friend, the charming and ditzy Lasaraleen (Olivia H). A wealth of lords, soldiers, townsfolk, a hermit, poet and others were played with great skill by Oliver B, Billy C, Efe O and Nathan L. Shasta finally discovers that he is a Prince and brother to Corin (Leo A) and helps to save Narnia from the wicked Rabadash’s army. Their adventures are watched over by the great Aslan (Margot F), who finally turns the villain into a donkey.
Lighting was, as always, engineered by the endlessly patient, Tom Moore; and the lovely photos were taken by my long-suffering husband, John. The set looked amazing, with winter foliage provided by our brilliant groundsmen, Keith and Dave Cruttenden, and the magic wardrobe doors created by Gayle Fernau. The beautiful costumes and huge collection of props were provided by parent volunteers Margaux Allfrey, Cherry Curtis, Gayle Fernau, Suzanne Foley, Sela Hussein, Sarah Lawler and Harriet Parkin, with our own Ollie Dorman building the sleigh. They were all organised by the fabulous Kate Hunt, who also made the wondrous animal heads for both plays and provided practical and emotional support throughout the rehearsal process.
I was enormously proud of all the children. C S Lewis is not always easy but they worked hard (most of the time) to master their lines and the complex characters and were a joy to direct!