The wardrobe sure has gotten petite since it's gigantic 2005 film adaptation. Inventively set to a smaller scale, and a shorter running time for a younger audience, Off Broadway Family Theatre's production of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" gives a fresh new look at the classic novel.
The epic nature of the C.S. Lewis's timeless thematic books has been transformed to adorable, simple charm. Josh Iacovelli's innovative two piece set includes a trunk and a hat rack which serves as various Narnian staples like the famous lamp post and the stone table on which Aslan is somewhat brutally sacrificed as in the book.
At the top of the show, Peter, the eldest Pevensie child draws a white Circle to differentiate the showing from the telling,. In this circle, he and his youngest sister, Lucy, spin their tale of how they literally stumbled upon a wonderful new land while fulfilling an important prophesy. Good ultimately triumphs over evil and important lessons in areas such as responsibility and greed are explored.
Julia Beardsley O'Brien's clever bare-bones staging let's the audience's imagination run wild with the two capable actors.
Andrew Fortman and Erin Layton should be commended for taking on an eclectic pallet of colorful characters. Fortman especially used his long legs and movement skills to his advantage, especially while taking on the role of Tumnus the Faun. Layton hammed it up as the White Witch providing a constant comedic spin to the fearsome villain.
Filled with amusing moments sure to keep children and grown-ups enthralled for it's brief 45 minute running time, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is a worthy, often magical, inaugural play for The Off Broadway Family Theatre.
"The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe" from the story by C.S. Lewis, dramatized by le Clanché du Rand, featuring Andrew Fortman and Erin Layton and directed by Julia Beardsley O'Brien. Performances every Saturday at 11 AM beginning October 22nd at St. Luke's Theatre, 308 West 46th Street (west of 8th Avenue), NYC. All seats $35 through www.telecharge.com or (212) 239-6200. Appropriate for age 6+. Running time: 45 minutes.
For more info visit www.narniaoffbroadway.com.