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Kudzu Playhouse1
Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

The Magician's Nephew, by Adaptation By Christopher Skinner
First production in Atlanta and what a standard it set!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
4.0
I recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta and have always been one for the theatre scene. I enjoyed numerous productions at Chicago's finest and used to work for Chicago's Breadline theatre.

I finally found a website that showed me all of what Atlanta had to offer and I came across Atlanta Performs and saw that a theatre was doing the Magician's Nephew- one of my favorite books as a child and one I read my son when he was very young. So, I decided to take him (now 14) and his friend to Kudzu Playhouse. I walked in and the theatre seemed a little trashy and unorganized, but as any good artist knows- we're not known for being organized and running on time. I met Jeannie Hinds and then walked down to the theatre- a small black box seating roughly 100 seats. The theatre wasn't filled, but there was a nice size crowd.

On the stage was this gigantic set made of hundreds of boards crookedly nailed together creating thin peep holes between one another- which I later read that Christopher Skinner himself designed.

The lights then dimmed awkwardly, no music- nothing and the show began and when the first scene began in which the two children are walking behind the set- I knew that I was in for a treat. Christopher Skinner and his directing is all about creating these wonderful tableaus and feelings for the audience. The first scene making the audience feel very anxious by using no music and only the children talking behind the set with just one candle lit. Throughout the production he sets a mood for each land he takes the audience too. Creating eerie places and magical places. Each moment in the show looks as if it was handpainted and if you snapped a picture- would be beautiful. BUT, at times the show did begin to drag and was exactly suited for young children.

As for the performers, standouts include Theresa Sanson as Queen Jadis- all I can say is she scared me more than my 14 year old son. Again, we do not see her at first, but only hear her voice echoing throughout the theatre and she finally bursts through some sort of trap door in the wall and appears. At moments she loses audibility, but her emotions are so driven- the rollercoaster of emotions she takes the audience through, loving her, hating her, laughing with her, laughing at her.

Also, Charles LaBrosse as Aslan- very strong and very powerful. He demands the stage his and takes attention, yet softens his character when needed. Also, Jackson Henry- this young man will go quite far, really feeling the character and what the character is going through.

As for the costumes, they cleverly and subtley fit each world. I enjoyed Aslan's costume the best- shying away from the "painted face" and furry tail, but a more traditional look of a lion, exuding royalty.

Another really wonderful thing about this production is that it is entirely underscored by original music composed by Robert Smith- it's very apparent that it is all done electronically- but the arrangements are beautiful and like everything else set the mood for each land.

I would suggest going and seeing THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW- I think it runs until the end of April. The show is strong, the direction is strong and the performances are wonderful. I look forward to seeing Christopher Skinner and Robert Smith team up to do another show and I am looking for strong theatre to view- so, if you have any suggestions email me at theatreluv1955@msn.com.

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