In Other News

REVIEW: “The Horse and His Boy” at Logos Theatre

Posted March 8, 2019 12:08 pm by daughter of the king 31 Comments

Review by Daughter of the King (Dot)

Bree and Shasta

The Logos Theatre has once again delivered a beautiful version of a Narnia story to the stage with the premiere of their version of The Horse and His Boy.

During a special session with a few fans during the intermission as well as after the show, Douglas Gresham (stepson of C.S. Lewis) stated that Nicole Stratton (who wrote, directed, and played Aravis’ stepmother) was one of two people he’s not afraid to get a script from. It is easy to see why. Although there were a few obvious technical hiccups and pacing issues, it was clear from the very beginning that this version of The Horse and His Boy was created by people who love the books just as much as other fans.

Nicole Stratton

The play opens with a prologue covering Shasta’s (Isaiah Johnson) backstory. Although some fans may find it controversial to start with a part of the story that is told later in the book, the decision works very well on stage. The tension begins almost immediately as the Centaur (Matthew Hainsworth) gives the prophecy of Shasta one day saving Archenland. King Lune (Joe Butler) and the queen (Haleigh Henegan) are visibly distraught, and that continues after Lord Barr (Justin Swain) kidnaps Shasta. The battle on the ship is one of the technical highlights of the show with the Archenlanders swinging onto the stage on ropes. It is also one of the emotional highlights as Butler gave a cry of despair and ripped his crown from his head when he realized his son was nowhere to be found.

The Centaur gives the prophecy

A recurring theme in the book is storytelling, and during an interview after the show Nicole Stratton said she wanted to use that in her version. As characters tell stories of what happened to them previously, the set pieces move around them and the audience is shown both the story as it is happening and the other characters the story is being told to. In some cases, this works very well. Aravis’ (Hope Barr) backstory was particularly poignant as she moved back and forth from interacting with Bree (voiced by Micah Hamilton), Hwin (voiced by Sheri Chavers), and Shasta, and interacting with other characters. This format was executed well during the emotionally fraught moments, such as Aravis’ attempted suicide. It was also used well for comedic effect when she describes her suitor, the Vizier Ahoshta (Eli Ramsour), to Bree and Shasta, and then the scene immediately cuts to Aravis’ father (Craig Stouffer) reacting to her saying the exact same thing at a party.

Aravis confronts her father about her marriage

This format unfortunately led to some of the technical fumbles. Because of the many moving pieces, the transitions were not always smooth and occasionally distracting. However, live theater often leads to technical mistakes early on and the longer the play runs the smoother these scenes should go.

One of the best uses of the storytelling format was when Corin (Ethan Gueck) explained to Shasta where he had been. Corin knocked down and was knocked down by Calormenes all over the stage even though the set pieces never changed from the Narnians’ suite in Tashbaan. They even used props from around the room as part of the action. The audience laughed loudly throughout the entire sequence.

Corin telling Shasta about the people he knocked down

Many of the other comedy-filled moments of course involved Lasaraleen (Leah Udinski). At times it felt like the character had simply walked off the page of the book onto the stage. Her introduction also involved one of the better uses of special effects in the show: when Aravis joins Lasaraleen on the litter. Every time Aravis closed the curtain, the light and sound of the crowd in Tashbaan stopped, and a spotlight shone inside the litter on the conversation taking place there. Then, every time Lasaraleen opened the curtain, the light and sound returned. That sort of moment requires a lot of coordination to get right, and everyone involved executed it perfectly.

Another great performance was delivered by Rabadash (Jeremiah Johnson). He is awfully evil and was another character that felt like they had just walked off the page. After playing Peter for several years in the Logos productions of previous Narnia plays, Jeremiah Johnson embraced the role of the villain whole-heartedly. Although he did mention during an interview that he found it “kind of draining to be evil that long”.

Rabadash leads the Calormene troops

Even though the overall play should please any theatergoer and Narnia fan alike, there were a few scenes that may disappoint book fans. One example is the adaptation of the chapter in the book titled The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler. Much of the scene is well done, as fog obscured a great deal of the stage and Isaiah Johnson balanced very well Shasta’s self-pity and awe about Aslan’s (voiced by Nicky Chavers) influence in his life. However, Aslan and Shasta do not at any point meet face-to-face. In the book, Shasta sees Aslan at the very end of their conversation, but in the play Aslan remains hidden in the fog throughout the entire scene.

Another scene that fell flat is the final one. After the wedding of an older Shasta (Cooper Beer), now in his rightful place as Prince Cor, to an older Aravis (Haleigh Henegan), King Edmund (Noah Stratton) tells Queen Susan (Tome Cox) that King Peter (Stephen Bjorkman) has called them back to Narnia to hunt the White Stag. It is an unnecessary tie-in to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that takes away the focus from the title characters.

Not all of the changes from the book missed the mark though. In the book, when the main characters are sneaking into Tashbaan, Bree is the one to remind Aravis to pretend she has been beaten and called names all her life. In the play, Shasta is the one to deliver this line and it works splendidly. It is the first time Aravis realizes just what sort of life Shasta has led, and is the start of visible changes in how she treats him.

Shasta tells Aravis how to behave like a slave

Another change from the book that works well is a scene near the beginning where a cat comforts a young Shasta (Brinton Stratton). Narnia fans will know the significance of the cat puppet appearing, while other audience members will get a glimpse of Aslan’s influence on Shasta’s life early on in the play even if they may not know the importance of the cat just yet.

One of the greatest parts of the play is undoubtedly the puppets. All of the puppets are extraordinary, but the horses are the true highlight of the show. They are just as good, if not even better, than any puppet on Broadway or the West End. The Destrier puppet used in Logos’ version of Prince Caspian was amazing, but the puppet team (lead by puppet designer Justin Swain, technical director Ken Hines, sculptor Harrell Whittington, and puppet apprentice Isaiah Johnson) outdid themselves in creating even better horse puppets to bring Bree and Hwin to life.

Hwin and Bree

All of the puppeteers deserve a great deal of praise, as not only are the horses incredibly heavy to operate, but they are also rideable, and not just for a few seconds. Aravis and Shasta spend several scenes on horseback with the horses moving very quickly both in place and around the stage. The puppeteers also spent time studying the way real horses move and learning how to move the puppets in similar gaits. The stand-out of the puppet team is Hwin’s lead puppeteer Katrina McMindes. Her face and body moved with the puppet as though she herself was Hwin and not merely someone in charge of moving a prop.

The Logos Theatre’s version of The Horse and His Boy is without a doubt worth the trip to Taylors, SC. Despite a few issues that might pull the audience out of the moment, the experience is not to be missed. Anyone who loves Narnia should love this play because it is produced by fans who love the books just as much.

Corin, King Lune, and Cor

The Horse and His Boy runs March 1-April 27 this spring. A second run has been announced for July 13-August 3. Tickets are available at https://thelogostheatre.com

Rilian, Glumpuddle, and Dot also recorded a special YouTube-only video review where they talked about some of their favorite parts of the play. View it here:

Dot with Douglas Gresham

Before she became a NarniaWeb moderator in General Movie Discussion, Dot studied theater and film and regularly wrote critical reviews of stage performances for her college newspaper.

UPDATE: The Logos Theatre has uploaded 78 images from the play. View them here.

First Look at Shasta and Bree in ‘The Horse and His Boy’ Stage Play

Posted February 25, 2019 6:36 pm by Glumpuddle 22 Comments

This Friday, The Horse and His Boy will make its first appearance on a professional stage in the United States. Here is the first official photo of the completed Bree puppet with Shasta in costume.

The horse (left), his boy (right)

Performances will run March 1 – April 27 at The Logos Theatre in Taylors, SC. Buy tickets or donate.

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Live Q&A with Douglas Gresham on Monday

Posted February 23, 2019 12:18 pm by Glumpuddle 8 Comments

Douglas Gresham (stepson of C. S. Lewis) will be speaking in Greenville, SC on Monday at approximately 7:00pm EST. Online viewers will be able to submit questions. This is an exclusive event for The Logos Theatre donors.

Viewers will also witness the unveiling of the Bree and Hwin puppets that will be used in The Horse and His Boy stage play, which premieres March 1.

How to participate:

  • Donate $50 or more to The Logos Theatre’s stage production of The Horse and His Boy. (The premiere is next Friday, but they are still thousands of dollars short of their goal)
  • Be sure to provide your real e-mail address.
  • Click the livestream link, which will be sent via e-mail at approximately 6:30pm EST.
  • Submit questions to Mr. Gresham!

This event will come days before a historic moment for Narnia: The first appearance of The Horse and His Boy on a professional stage in the United States. Douglas Gresham and many NarniaWebbers will be attending the premiere. Get tickets.

UPDATE: The event has ended.

Mr. Tumnus on SNL

Posted January 28, 2019 8:24 am by Glumpuddle 26 Comments

James McAvoy appeared in costume as Mr. Tumnus on Saturday Night Live this weekend. Be aware that most of the dialogue is explicitly sexual. You can view the video here.

Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, and William Moseley tweeted about the skit.

McAvoy’s latest movie, Glass, is currently in theaters.

Thanks to McKenan for the alert.

Netflix News Roundup: 10 Oscar Nominations for ‘Roma’

Posted January 22, 2019 11:47 am by Glumpuddle 4 Comments

We are still waiting on Netflix to reveal more details on their plans for The Chronicles of Narnia, but the streaming giant has not been idle for the past few months…

Roma Receives 10 Oscars Noms

Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, became the first Netflix Original Movie to be nominated for an Academy Award. In fact, it received 10 nominations including Best Picture.

Ted Sarandos on Theatrical Releases

Netflix’s chief content officer said:

“I love the theatrical experience and we’re not in conflict with anyone, I think we’re a complement to each other. [Roma] is awesome on the big screen, but most of the world does not have access to do that. What I want to do is connect people with movies they’re going to love. And they’re going to love ‘Roma.’ They’re going to love it on their phone, they’re going to love it on a huge big screen.”

Could Narnia get a theatrical release like Roma?

Roald Dahl Universe

Netflix is extending the Roald Dahl universe of stories for global family audiences with an exclusive new slate of original animated event series, based on the books from the acclaimed and award-winning author’s best-selling library, including Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryMatildaThe BFGThe Twits, and many other beloved titles.

Daredevil Cancelled

Netflix has cancelled many of its Marvel shows. Most surprising of all, Daredevil was cancelled in the wake of critical acclaim for Season 3.

Carmen Sandiego Trailer

See the trailer for the upcoming adaptation of the 90s computer game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? In addition to the animated series, a live-action movie is also in the works.

Raising Prices, Stock Soaring

Netflix’s cheapest basic plan will cost $9, up from $8; its most popular HD standard plan will cost $13, up from $11; and its 4K premium plan will cost $16, up from $14.

Grishaverse Novels

Another fantasy series is coming to Netflix. “The plan is for these eight episodes to adapt aspects of [Leigh] Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy and parts from her two Six of Crows novels.”

Do you have a story to share? Contact us at spy[at]narniaweb.com!

Ben Barnes Returns in “The Punisher”

Posted January 10, 2019 12:37 pm by daughter of the king 1 Comment

Netflix cancelled several of its’ Marvel shows in the past few months, but there is at least one more season of The Punisher. Ben Barnes returns as Billy Russo, a villain also known as Jigsaw.

Disney might bring back the Netflix Marvel shows on its’ own streaming platform, Disney+, but for now this may be the last chance to see Barnes in the role.

Georgie Henley Cast in “Game of Thrones” Prequel

Posted January 8, 2019 5:02 pm by daughter of the king 36 Comments

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Georgie Henley has been cast as a series regular in the Game of Thrones prequel series.

There is not yet any information about what role Henley will be playing, but secrecy about anything in the production is usual for Game of Thrones.

This will be the first time Henley has returned to the fantasy genre on both the large and the small screen since The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

See Will Poulter in “Bandersnatch”

Posted December 29, 2018 12:53 pm by daughter of the king 4 Comments

The Netflix show Black Mirror recently premiered an unprecedented episode featuring Will Poulter (Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). The episode is an interactive piece allowing the viewer to have some control over the narrative in the style of choose your own adventure stories.

Much like The Twilight Zone, Black Mirror has a different story every episode featuring an almost entirely new cast every time. So this may be the only chance to see Poulter in the show.

See the trailer below, and be sure to comment about how your choices changed the story!

Pints with Jack: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

Posted December 21, 2018 5:32 pm by Glumpuddle 2 Comments

Pints with Jack: A C.S. Lewis Podcast usually focuses on Lewis’ theological works, but they recently did an episode about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Listen here.

This is a great podcast for anyone interested in the works of C. S. Lewis. They also recently started a new video series. Recommended!

NarniaWeb Mugs Are Here!

Posted November 26, 2018 11:30 am by Glumpuddle 14 Comments

Father Christmas has new NarniaWeb mugs waiting in his bag!

Place your order

Proceeds from these sales will keep the site and podcast running. We need your help to keep NarniaWeb going strong!

NarniaWeb’s mission is threefold:

1. Offer the latest Narnia movie news.

2.
Provide an internet hub for people that love The Chronicles of Narnia.

3.
Amplify the voices of readers who want filmmakers to treat C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books with the respect they deserve.

This is especially important with new Narnia productions gearing up. We hope you will consider supporting us!

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