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Magic fills stage in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’

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Magic fills stage in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ (Photo courtesy of Midcoast Actors' Studio/Leah Bannister)

BELFAST – Adorable, imaginative and compact. Midcoast Actors’ Studio’s production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is an adventurous delight, perfect for the holiday season. 

Based on the famous C. S. Lewis 1950 fantasy novel and 2005 movie of the same name, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” tells a classic Christian allegory.

The White Witch has trapped Narnia in a perpetual state of winter with no hope of Christmas. But all changes when four siblings venture through an old wardrobe and enter this land of talking animals, charming fauns, centaurs and wood nymphs.

“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a magical performance marvelously directed by Leah Bannister. Throughout the show, Grace Hayes is loveable and captivating as Lucy Pevensie. Grace portrays Lucy with a sense of innocence that has the whole audience engaged. Her innocence is shown when she steps through the wardrobe for the first time and automatically becomes friends with Tumnus the fawn, played by John Dalton Logan.

While Lucy is sweet and enchanting, the opposite is achieved by Chris Hayes as Edmund Pevensie. Chris stays true to the role of Edmund, playing the grouchy younger brother. His sourpuss ways are showed by his pessimistic attitude during dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Bryan Hayes and Bobbi-jo Hayes. While the other kids break bread and engage in conversation with the Beaver clan, Chris crosses his arms and fills his face with an exaggerated frown.

The pessimistic attitude of Edmund does not deter the optimism of Erin Hayes as Susan Pevensie. Erin plays the older sister with a gentle nurturing energy. She uses her character to break up fights between brothers and remind the family to keep persevering. She brings compassion to her role amongst Edmund’s jeering.

Maci Burgess brings strength and bravery to the role of Peter Pevensie. During his fight scene, he easily beats the captain of the white witch’s secret police, Maugrim, played by Angela Domenichelli.

No storyline is complete without an utter terrifying villain. Christi Goosman plays Jadias, the White Witch in a hair-raisingly spectacular way. The way she mercilessly turns characters into stone sends shivers of pure terror down the viewer’s spine.

Nathan Roach is spellbinding as the voice of Aslan. He brings magic to the Broadway-sized Crosby stage. The puppeteering of Aslan creates undulating movement and realistic head movement that has the whole audience awed in amazement.

It is all important to note the adult versions of the children are played by Roach, Curry, Deb Fournier, and Jen Hart. Olivia Andrews is the centaur. Danielle and Marina Bannister play the dwarf and elf. Jay Holland is the professor and Father Christmas. Various animals are played by Isabelle Holt, Esme Deschamps, Sarah Joy, Teagan Fournier, Patricia Saucier, Michaela Newton, Jadon and Edna Dodge. All of these roles help to create this astounding production.

Midcoast Actors’ Studio uses creativity to showcase all the elements of C. S. Lewis’s notorious fantasy novel. The costumes by Linda Marie and the set design created by Leah Bannister, Jason Bannister, Greg Marsanskis, Brian Ross, and Scott and Sarah Cournoyer help to illustrate the vast differences between the London countryside and the magical land of Narnia. Costumes in the London are simple and dated to the time period; costumes in the magical land of Narnia are elegant and extravagant. The dress worn by Jadias the white witch, played Christi Goosman, reinforces her icy rule.

Perhaps the best costume is Aslan’s. The lion is a giant puppet, built by Leah Bannister, Nathan Roach and Eugene Newton and handled by three puppeteers - Chip Curry, Newton and Roach.

What are you waiting for? Bring, your children to the Crosby stage for a night filled with adventure and magic. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” plays through December 17 at The Crosby Center, located at 96 Church Street in Belfast. Performances take place on December 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and December 17at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased at the door or online at midcoastactors.org. 

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