Pictured: Sierra Carlson, Alexandra Price, and Christine Detweiler (Milan Detweiler)

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Madelyn Paquette, a student at McLean High School , reviews “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” performed by Stone Bridge High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program .

Darkness has turned the world upside-down. Embroiled in a bitter war with a ruthless, seemingly unconquerable despot who will stop at nothing to achieve a perfect, snow-white nation, and trapped in an endless winter of secrecy and despair, any hope of salvation seems foolhardy. But this isn’t World War II Germany, it is Narnia, where unicorns roam and prophecy reigns supreme. Aslan is coming, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve; are you prepared? Stone Bridge High School breathed new life into this beloved children’s story in their vibrant production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was adapted from the classic C.S. Lewis novel by Joseph Robinette. It is the story of the Pevensie siblings, who stumble upon a doorway to the magical land of Narnia at the back of a wardrobe. They discover that they are destined to become kings and queens of the realm, but only if they can first defeat the White Witch and her army of wicked creatures.

Stone Bridge’s cast was led by a nuanced performance by Chris Sanderson in the role of Edmund. Not only did he prove to possess an impressive knack for comedic timing, but his genuine onstage reactions and commitment to natural impulses were superb and utterly fitting for his deeply conflicted character. Alexandra Price was also a delightful addition as the youngest Pevensie, Lucy. She fully embodied the physicality of a young girl, and her every moment onstage was clearly motivated, demonstrating an uncommon understanding of emotion and relationships within the play.

The supporting cast was brimming with talented performers who transcended the stereotypical elements of their roles to create truly memorable characters. Demery Schriver was a terrifyingly intimidating presence as Jadis, the White Witch. Her powerful voice was perfectly suited for the dominating evil queen of Narnia, ringing through the auditorium with palpable authority and tyrannical might. Mr. Beaver, played by Kevin Buckley, was another standout. He crafted his character with unfailing dedication, never slipping from the trademark waggle in his walk and maintaining involvement even in scenes where he was not the focus of the action. Like Buckley, Sierra Carlson, who played the flighty yet lovable Tumnus, moved beyond merely playing the faun’s animal traits to give a compelling, distinctive performance. Everything about Carlson’s time onstage, from her musically synchronized pipe playing to her brash intonation, was perfectly appropriate for Narnia’s most nervous gatekeeper, and often drew uproarious laughter from the audience.

The technical elements of this production were nothing short of stunning, actualizing the land of childhood dreams that is Narnia in spectacular fashion. The sound crew deserves special recognition for their flawless handling of an unwieldy number of wireless microphones, as well as for sound effects which enhanced the action of certain scenes. Their work together with the lighting crew for the play’s opening air raid scene was particularly impressive. The score, composed by Adam Weiss, did a pitch-perfect job setting the mood, allowing the nymphs and evil army to create beautiful stage pictures through movement with the music. Both the props and make-up crews exhibited remarkable attention to detail in their work, from intricate body paintings to the Witch’s meticulously crafted wand, respectively.

For sixty years, children have been checking their own wardrobes with dreams of a secret passage to Narnia. But as Aslan tells the Pevensie children, there is more than one way to this mythical land. Stone Bridge found one of these other hidden paths in their enchanting production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.