The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, AUB students and Kokoro at Poole Lighthouse

THE students at AUB and Kokoro, mouth Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary music ensemble, continued their memorable collaboration with a production of the RSC Adrian Mitchell adaptation with Shaun Davey’s music.

Directed by Katharine Piercey, it captured the essence and spirit of CS Lewis’s immortal story, blending the actual and fantastic as the Pevensey evacuees explore their new home and its nooks, crannys and, of course, wardrobe. Only Lucy discovers that it is a portal to another world.

On both sides are threats and the possibility of redemption in this lastingly powerful story set in the dark days of the Second World War.

Acting students at AUB have been experimenting with the increasingly-popular inclusion of puppetry, and with the expertise of their colleagues in the Costume and Perf­or­mance Design and Make-Up departments, created a spectacular production with gasp-inducing puppets and effects.

This is the first time that the Kokoro collaboration has been directed at family audiences, and the Saturday matinee house was packed with excited children, delighted to see their favourite story brought to such vibrant life.  For the adults in the audience, this was a multi-layered, stylish and subtle reading of the story, bringing out all its darkness and light.

With 13 named characters and another 11 ensemble members, the worlds of London in the Blitz, a rambling country house and the magical world of Narnia were perfectly portrayed.

Outstanding in this large cast wer Jasmine Collecott’s Lucy, Jacob Carter’s conflicted Edmund, Hadleigh Giles in the hugely contrasted roles of the Professor and a sinuously moved Maugrim, Joshua Anthony-Jones as the loveable Mr Tumnus, Reece Spencer-Avison and Holly Diana Potton as Mr and Mrs Beaver and Rochelle Cook’s majestic Aslan.

The puppetry, particularly for Aslan and the cheetahs, was exceptional. Claire Camble-Hutchins choreography gave the stylised action a unity and grace. From the reaction of Saturday’s audience this was a massive hit, and richly deserved many more performances.

I look forward to AUB’s next offering, as the course further establishes itself as a leader in theatre schools across the country.


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