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BWW Review: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts

BWW Review: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts

The beloved, magical story of Narnia, introduced to us in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, has been adapted for the screen and the stage. It is a story that appeals to audiences of all ages-a classic tale of good versus evil and the healing power of faith, hope, and love. DreamWrights Center for Community Arts with director Amanda Nowell is taking audiences through the wardrobe now through February 23rd.

Even before the show starts, the crew sets the scene, evoking the magic of Narnia with a beautiful set of wardrobe doors and music that creates anticipation, mystery, and hope. The costumes and makeup are inspired-I was particularly impressed with the costume for Father Christmas and the costume and makeup for Fenris Ulf.

This production at DreamWrights is double-cast, and I had the opportunity to see Company R perform on opening night. The cast did a wonderful job bringing this show to life. The Forest Animals, Elise Arvin, Ryelan Swartz, Lorelei Drinkut, and Madison Harper, are energetic and have worked on including some behaviors typical of the animals they represent into their acting. The Witch's Army, made up of Emma Lohss, Taryn Mariano, and Laney Poulin (who also portrays the Elf in the show), use their posture, body language, and voices to come across as menacing.

Aslan's followers include the Centaur, Unicorn, White Stag, and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Jonah Unger is a stately and poised Centaur. Elliana Arvin is elusive and light on her feet as the White Stag. As the Unicorn, Sophia Cherwinski interacts well with the other characters. Miranda Kovach plays Mrs. Beaver as motherly and eternally hopeful that good will win. Rachel Sapelli, who takes on the role of Mr. Beaver, gives a stand-out performance. From imitating a beaver's gait and movements to skillfully showing Mr. Beaver's emotions, Sapelli really shines in this role. Stephen Nowell is charming in the cameo role of Father Christmas, bringing hope and light to Narnia.

The White Witch's forces also include the Dwarf and Fenris Ulf, the Captain of her guard. Noah Hitz and Kirsten Taylor give outstanding performances in these roles. Hitz combines a groveling subservience to the White Witch with elements of sarcasm and snark that makes his character a delightful bad guy. Taylor's Fenris Ulf is strong and confident. Her fight scene with Peter is well-executed (and a round of applause to Fight Choreographer Cassidy Wray Martin for the choreography of that scene).

Dave Unger, Andrea Unger, and Bob Arvin round out the remainder of the inhabitants of Narnia as Tumnus the Fawn, the White Witch, and Aslan. Dave Unger's mannerisms as Tumnus are perfectly designed to demonstrate Tumnus's timid personality. Andrea Unger is excellent as the White Witch, playing her as cold, harsh, and cunning. Her monologue at the end of Act I and her scene at the stone table are powerfully performed. Bob Arvin is majestic, confident, and wise in his role as Aslan. He makes it easy to see why the forest animals would follow him.

The humans in the show, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are portrayed by Eli Linnell, Olivia Pituch, Justin Danner, and Cecilia Pituch. Linnell plays Peter with maturity, portraying him as the leader the character eventually becomes. Olivia Pituch is ideal as Susan-she comes across as calm and gentle. Danner portrays the younger brother Edmund as whiny and self-absorbed-easy prey for the White Witch. Cecilia Pituch gives one of the best performances of the night as Lucy, the sibling who first discovers Narnia. She is curious and adventuresome, loyal and brave.

If you're looking for a show that will remind you to take courage and have hope, check out The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at DreamWrights Center for Community Arts. Visit www.dreamwrights.org for tickets before it's too late.d



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From This Author - Andrea Stephenson