Aslan the lion ensures that the Company of Ten’s Christmas production will be a roaring success during the festive period. 

For this is no actor dressed as a lion but a larger-than-life Aslan on a big screen at the back of the stage in the Company of Ten production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

As a way of overcoming the limitations of the Abbey Theatre stage, it is a brilliant idea. No wonder that in her programme notes, director Katherine Barry praises the efforts of her husband Stuart for devising it. 

Aslan is such a key component in the wonderful story by C. S. Lewis adapted by Glyn Robbins that the production could well have fallen down if any other method of depicting the famous lion had been used. 

As soon as he appears on the screen, the production goes up a notch even though the graphics had been used to great effect prior to the appearance of Aslan. 

Among other uses, they allowed the stage to be converted into a winter wonderland in contrast to the stuffy temporary home of the four children at the heart of the story. 

There is a magical quality to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the children in the audience on Saturday evening seemed pretty mesmerised by it. 

And it was not just the proud Aslan, voiced powerfully by Company of Ten veteran Derek Coe, that kept their attention. 

Jill Priest was a magnificent White Witch as well as the crochety housekeeper Mrs Macready and Craig Duncombe as the witch’s henchman Maugrim added to the sinister side of the story. 

Herts Advertiser: Jill Priest as the White WitchJill Priest as the White Witch (Image: Abbey Theatre)

By contrast Paul Manuel’s depiction of the Professor into whose house the children were evacuated during the last war and later as a jovial Father Christmas was spot on. 

It is the children who are at the heart of the story and on Saturday evening Joseph Collins-McGrath, Freddie Prats and Ronia and Amber Joshi did not disappoint.  

I’m sure that other permutations of the children taking the parts of Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are just as good. 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe runs until December 28 and details of performances and tickets can be obtained from or the box office on 01727 857861.