As the Anchorage Community Theatre turns 51 this year, it celebrates with a rich season of premiers, musicals and American classics. ACT’s current production is just such a classic: C.S. Lewis’ timeless “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” The tale follows young Lucy (Courtney Heath) and her siblings, Peter (Aaron Savage), Edmund (Caleb Blackbird) and Susan (Ashley Savage) after they discover a gateway to another world in the back of an old wardrobe.
Little Lucy is first to uncover the passageway leading to Narnia, a magical land inhabited by elves, witches and unicorns. Five thousand years earlier, the evil White Witch took control of Narnia from Aslan, its rightful ruler, and trapped the land in eternal winter. Worse, the White Witch has also banished Christmas. Lucy and her siblings learn that they are part of a prophecy to restore Narnia to its original splendor.
The cold, intimate studio theater was easily transformed into Narnia with a flick of the lights and a few silver, leafless trees. The play opened with two elves scampering about the audience looking for someone to steal away. After nabbing a reluctant young girl, they slipped back into the forest to await the opening scene.
Lewis would have been proud to see the young children in the audience being drawn into his story. The seats were filled with enchanted young boys and girls, their eyes glued to the action. Had it not been for a parental presence, they probably would have leapt out of their seats to defend Edmund and Aslan from the White Witch.
Unfortunately, a few older members of the audience felt it was necessary to discuss the play as they watched, without respect for their fellow theatergoers. Still, the cast overpowered the disruptions with their performance.
Fans of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” may know that Lewis incorporated Christian parallelisms into Narnia. Incorporated motifs included the crown of thorns worn by Aslan, the benevolent ruler of Narnia and sacrificial death and resurrection.
For all families wishing for a perfect all-ages experience with an uplifting theme, look no further than this ACT production.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” plays at the ACT studio theater on 74th Avenue Thursday through Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. through Nov. 21. Tickets are $17 for general admission, $12 for students and senior citizens and $10 for children 12 and under.