The Silver Chair | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Silver Chair 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

The Silver Chair, Lifeline Theatre. James E. Grote's adaptation of C.S. Lewis's fourth Narnia chronicle makes brief reference to earlier volumes but is sufficiently self-contained for playgoers hitherto unacquainted with the series. The heroes are two misfit children who flee their schoolmates' bullying for the magic kingdom of Narnia, charged with the task of freeing a lost prince from an evil witch's seductive spell.

Lewis's theological subtext is touched on only lightly in Lifeline Theatre's production. (The liberators bungle the directives handed down by Aslan, the wise ruler of Narnia, but triumph through their unswerving faith.) More immediate are the obstacles encountered in the course of the mission: treacherous mountains, freezing weather, labyrinthine caves (Narnia being not unlike northern Scotland), bloodthirsty giants, duplicitous advisers, and a deadly 20-foot serpent whose slaughter requires the combined efforts of all the spell breakers.

The combined efforts of Lifeline's technical staff--predominantly Ann Bertek's anthill-like set, Rebekah Johnson and Betsy Covert's clever puppets, and R&D Choreography's imaginative "violence design"--sometimes threaten to eclipse the human actors (though Mark Richard all but steals the show as Puddleglum, the gloomy marshwiggle who acts as the youngsters' guide and mentor). Fortunately Kevin Theis's nimble direction keeps the action moving swiftly enough to enchant juvenile and adult playgoers alike.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Galleries & Museums
Emotions Go to Work International Museum of Surgical Science
August 14
Performing Arts
April 30 1

Popular Stories