By Stephen Sheldrake

Mark and I were lucky enough to see Shadowlands at the beautiful Yvonne Annaud Theatre in Guildford in February. They co-produced it with Birdsong productions who brought Sebastian Faulks’ famous novel to life on stage and more recently Flare Path to the Connaught Theatre. Now they bring Shadowlands to Worthing 19-23 April, but just how good is this new production? Well here are our thoughts:

Stephen Sheldrake – Press & Media Officer

With a rich interest in literature and romance, I was intrigued by the concept behind Shadowlands, but I wasn’t prepared for just how moving the production was going to be.

The dialogue, which is poetic and emotionally engaging throughout, has been pieced together excellently to reflect the world of CS Lewis. The contrast between the fantastical realm of Narnia, which is mirrored subtly in the production, and the reality of the events in real life, added another dimension to the storytelling. What I loved most was the relationship between CS Lewis (Stephen Boxer) and Joy Davidman (Amanda Ryan), born through friendship, you see how their bond grew despite the challenges that were thrown at them.

I began to remember that this is a true story, and as the drama increased as the play developed, I found myself very invested and involved in the lives of these two magnificent people. I won’t spoil the ending, but I left the theatre moved and inspired by this fascinating story and fantastically constructed production. I couldn’t recommend it more and this is by far my favourite in our Spring/Summer season. The performance of Stephen Boxer was also magnificent, he is on the stage for the entire production and has a huge amount of lines, but as a former actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company he brings the highest standards you can expect. I can’t wait to see it again on opening night!

Mark Gordon – Audience Development Officer

I’m not going to lie. When it comes to theatre (or any live performance), I’m a bit of a snob. If I don’t like something, I’ll say so. Thank goodness this production of Shadowlands lived up to all of the hype.

The first thing that struck me (not literally, thankfully) was the set. Seemingly simplistic, it’s grand height and nice little touches, including a very authentic fireplace, played a part in keeping the production running swiftly and smoothly. The lighting and sound also worked extremely well, reflecting the mood of the piece beautifully.

There wasn’t one member of the cast who wasn’t believable. Stephen Boxer as CS Lewis held the audience in the palm of his hand whilst barely leaving the stage. Special mentions also for Amanda Ryan, Dennis Lill and Simon Shackleton.

I won’t say too much about the story, just in case you don’t know it, but the script takes the audience on a journey, with plenty of laughter whilst leaving a tear in my eye (no ma, I’m a man, I don’t cry…*sobs*) If you enjoy high quality touring theatre, then you won’t want to miss this production.

James Tully – Film Officer

The film of Shadowlands is absolutely fantastic, I’ve seen it multiple times and cry every time! Both Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger are perfect in their respective roles. From what I’ve seen of the production shots of the play – it looks like a high quality version of the sets from the film. I really like the trailer as it captures the poetic elements of the characters and the piece overall. The actors in the play look like they have made the roles their own rather than just copy the film. I can’t wait to see what they do with the parts. I look forward to having a good cathartic cry when it comes to Worthing Theatres at the end of April.

For more information on Shadowlands and to book tickets visit: http://bit.ly/ShadowlandWT