London theatregoers will get a chance to revisit Narnia via a new stage production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe set to open in Hyde Park in May.
Producers have unveiled details of the forthcoming stage adaptation by Olivier-winning theatre director Rupert Goold, whose credits include a Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart, the modern drama Enron and recent revivals of King Lear and Oliver.
The new production is based on the classic C.S. Lewis tale that kicked off the Chronicles of Narnia series, which Goold said "left a huge impression" on him during childhood. However, Goold said his vision is to evoke "the power of faith and the danger of tyranny in a rougher more elemental telling of the story."
"Its combination of fairy tale strangeness and mythic spirituality seemed fundamentally English in sensibility, and returning to it now as an adapter and in reading all the stories to my children, I also find it strangely Shakespearean, too."
Goold, artistic director of Headlong Theatre and an associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, will co-direct the production with Michael Fentiman, artistic director of Beggars and Kings Theatre Company.
Staged in a tent
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be staged in a temporary tent structure set up in Kensington Gardens in London's Hyde Park and will feature surround video and puppetry. Previews are slated to begin May 8 and run through Sept. 9.
Douglas Gresham, one of the producers of the most recent trio of Narnia films and a stepson of Lewis, is also involved in the new adaptation. The staging will be completed by the firm threesixty, which produced a version of Peter Pan in a tent in Kensington Gardens in 2009 (and which also featured video surround technology).
Published by Lewis in 1950, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tells the tale of four young siblings evacuated to the British countryside during the Second World War. Left to their own devices in an old country house owned by a family friend, the Pevensie children stumble upon a wardrobe that transports them to a fantastical world populated by talking animals, mythical beasts and an evil witch.
Since its original publication, the Narnia series has been adapted for stage, television and film, most recently in the Hollywood films The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.