01 July 2012

a 360° viewing of narnia

I spent some birthday money on a ticket to see this show at the threesixty theatre which is set up in Kensington Gardens. I handed my ticket over, entered the tent and found my seat and waited for showtime.

The threesixty theatre is so called because the stage is round and viewed from 360°. Inside the tent the whole area is used. Actors come in and out of various exits, mainly on the stage, sometimes in the aisles, sometimes suspended from the roof. Even the ceiling of the tent has various projections to help create the atmosphere of where you are in a given scene.

I was able to purchase a voucher that got me a premium seat for £30. I was five rows from the stage. I wouldn't have wanted to be any closer I think. As it was my feet were at the same level as the stage. I would suggest just getting a cheap ticket anyway. It's only 13 rows deep so you'd never be more than 15m away from the stage. The only issue which was a little disappointing was I was in section F which turned out to be "behind the stage". I know it's 360° but the main stage entry was right on my left and a few of the major scenes were facing away from me. Like the wardrobe doors. But there was loads of cool stuff. The characters interacted with the audience a little. One of the wooves came in scowling and growling and came right up close to the side of the entry platform on my left. The girls in front didn't notice at first and jumped in their seats with fright when he growled in their faces. Also just near the end of intermission the forest animals came gathered on stage for a picnic. Hedgehog went foraging around the audience and got a little popcorn from some of the children. Eventually squirrel called hedgehog back on stage and she climbed up and did three neat rolls to the picnic blanket. Typical for me, I most enjoyed the costumes and 'sets'. So fascinating and creative.

There was lots of stilt work and some puppetry, all with a very woods theme. The squirrel had a tail that was a framework of branches, the beavers had bare hoop skirts (they were great with lots of furry clothes and hoods that looked like a beaver head) and Aslan...

He was an amazing huge puppet that took three puppeteers to operate. He looked skeletal, made to look like he was constructed from wood ripped of trees. The stage itself was quite impressive too. The wardrobe came in from the floor, there were various trap doors and there was a ring near the outer edge of the stage that rotated. The projections on the ceiling varied depending on the scene. It was basket weaving when inside the beavers hut, snowing and snow mountains outside in Narnia and when Aslan was running with the girls they were running on the spot while the projections zoomed along to create the illusion of movement. It was very well done.

Though I've never really got into the Narnia series, it was quite a good experience. The threesixty theatre was fun to witness and the actors and costumes were great and entertaining. It was worth a viewing.

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