Saturday, June 30, 2012
...Why Children Matter - and it's being sent out free to anyone that wants it, and you can get hold of a copy by linking here.... Wise, gentle, and full of hope and common sense, it's a book for today's parents, trying to raise children to be happy and good in a world where crude, ugly, violent and vicious alternatives surge into childhood hearts and minds all the time. The author is Johann Christoph Arnold and the book carries an Introduction by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. It's a delight to be ble to recommend this book, which comes from Plough Publishing, which has produced other excellent material over the years. There is a simplicity and joy about their work and message. They write with courage, taking a clear spiritual and moral approach which could get them lots of criticism today - indeed the author at one point describes being told to leave a school platform halfway through a morning assembly because he dared to mention God. This gives us all an extra reason for reading, and passing on to others, this delightful paperback, which incidentally is beautifully produced and a pleasure to handle.
Friday, June 29, 2012
...a friend who is gravely ill in hospital. A quiet and solemn visit. The Rosary. Then my route home, in a corner of London not familiar to me, took me past the long high walls of Wormwood Scrubs, the all too grimly-named establishment for involuntary guests of HM...and because I was thinking about suffering, somehow there was a consciousness of the suffering within those walls too...and then, because I was on my way to Mass,a vague link in my mind with the bleak news from the USA of the latest court decision there, not a good sign for religious freedom. On to Westminster Cathedral, and the Mass for Saints Peter and Paul, with Archbishop Vincent Nichols in red vestments and wearing the Pallium. A sudden deep realisation that this unchanging Mass, this huge reality, links us down across the centuries with Peter in Rome long, long ago in prison, and being released from his chains...and the Faith was brought to us, here on this island, and here we all were this June 29th in London, singing out "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!" in a packed cathedral...
Thursday, June 28, 2012
...of St Patrick's Soho Square (see blog post below), there will be considerable excitement there about this news. Fulton Sheen was a regular preacher and confessor at this church, as he stayed there whenever he was in London. Used to like to describe himself as an honorary curate there.
...is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul and one of the few remaining Holy Days left to us. DEAR BISHOPS:Please may we have all our Holy Days back? Today, chatting to a couple of Catholic ladies, one noted that "somehow it makes the saints look more important than Our Lord, as they get a special day and his feast-days don't". Quite. The idea in moving the special "feasts of the Lord" to Sundays was apparently to make them seem more important, but of course it did nothing of the kind: in the minds of many, feasts like the Ascension instead just "got abolished", because marking them on the nearest Sunday merely seemed to downplay them. Anyway, it will be a pleasure to honour the great martyr-saints Peter and Paul and to give thanks for the Church...and Auntie will probably do so at Westminster Cathedral or possibly at St Patrick's Soho Square...
...of a new book on Shakespeare by Nicholas Fogg. He's a native of Stratford-on-Avon and so grew up with the the folklore of Bard. The London launch was at St Mary Moorfields - Nick is a member of The Keys, the Catholic Writers' Guild, which meets there - and followed the usual pattern of such events, with much talk and wine and agreeable conviviality....Nick's book is warmly recommended: more info here.... I was at the launch with a journalist friend who worked for some years at the BBC World Service - which incidentally has now moved from its time-honoured home at Bush House in the Strand. I had always thought that the World Service owned that building, which has the motto "Nation shall speak peace unto nation" carved into its stonework...but apparently they only leased it, and the carving was a mere piece of coincidental providence.It was from that building that the BBC provided news from freedom to occupied Europe during WWII, and to Eastern Europe during the long years of the Cold War that followed. It always had a special atmosphere, and went on using those big square microphones on green-baize-covered tables long after they had disappeared from other radio stations.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
...which will, I think, prove to be of considerable interest. I am meeting a gentleman who, as a small boy during World War II, was hidden in a Rome convent, along with other members of his Jewish family. You will read the results of our conversations in due course...it is very important indeed that the truth about the plight of Rome's Jewish community during WWII is told, and tribute paid to them and to the courage of those who helped to shelter and rescue them.
...of St John Southworth, hero priest of the London Plague and a martyr, his body is brought out from its usual chapel at Westminster Cathedral and placed in the Nave, surrounded by candles. This evening, at the usual sung High Mass, the glowing candles, the glorious singing, the evening light, were all a sort of balm after a particularly hectic day. Last week, there was a special Mass for a reunion of former choristers - they joined the procession and sang with the choir from the apse, men of all ages, some middle-aged, some still almost schoolboys, lots of them - and apparently effortlessly they sang out together the most glorious music, soaring up to the great basilica roof and lifting all our hearts. I LOVE WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL.
Monday, June 25, 2012
...who was so kind to me on the train going to Portsmouth today is reading this, a big big THANK YOU!!!! And yes, I did finally make it to the meeting! and for other readers...here's what happened. At Waterloo,I hopped brightly on to a train for Portsmouth, and en route used my mobile to telephone a taxi to meet my train at 1.30pm . A kind young lady hesitantly approached and said that she couldn't help but overhear...and felt I ought to know that the train certainly wouldn't arrive at Portsmouth until at least 2.15pm. Gulp. I had caught a slow train by mistake...and when I started to think about telephoning the church hall concerned to tell them I'd be late etc, I realised I wasn't even certain of its name. St Saviour's? Yes, surely that was it...but no. We found - by now the young lady was an ally in helping to sort things out - an Anglican church of that name but the kind vicar there said I most certainly wasn't going to speak at any meeting that he knew of that afternoon (extraordinarily, he knew my name and had read some of my stuff over the years!). After some more thinking and googling, light dawned - St SWITHUN!! Yes, that was the name. But the only church seemed to be miles away near Southampton. Oh, dear...and at this point the kind young helper had to leave as we had reached her station...so, if she's reading this: IT'S ALL RIGHT! I telephoned the RC diocesan office, and with their help and that of the Southampton church, I found the right church, St Swithun's in Southsea! And arrived there in time to give my talk on "Celebrating the Church's feasts and Seasons". Phew...
...has just published a book which looks like a good read. His is a thoughtfuland prayerful voice, and an inspiring one: he has written the Foreword to an important and authoritative book on Fatima , which lays to rest the fantasies of the they-haven't-told-you-the-full-secret campaigners and emphasises the real, and challenging, spiritual message of the visions. His new book draws on Bl John Paul's Ecclesia de Eucharistica and Papa Benedict Sacramentum Caritatis in offering meditations on the Eucharist.
...Martyrs' Walk made its way through London yesterday,following the route taken by Catholic martyrs to Tyburn long ago. We prayed for religious freedom, gave thanks for the sacrifices made by the martyrs in England long ago, asked for courage for whatever lies ahead. We stopped at SS Anselm and Cecilia in Holborn, at the (Anglican)church of St-Giles-in-the-Fields - where we remembered all those, Protestant and Catholic, who died during the turbulent years of the Reformation and prayed the De Profundis, , and St Patrick's, Soho Square, before finally making our way to Tyburn and Benediction. It's no longer possible to walk down Oxford Street(traffic, crowds), so we divided up into sections and went along other roads. Fr Robert Nicoletti had come from Rome to be our chaplain for the day, and for all of us on the organising team the day began at Westminster Cathedral where he concelebrated the 10.30 High Mass with Canon Christopher Tuckwell for the feast of the Birthday of St John the Baptist.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
...for the Martyrs' Walk tomorrow (Sunday June 24th). Meet near the Old Bailey - site of Newgate Prison where many Catholic martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries were held before their execution. We'll be gathering in the churchyard of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, nearby. We'll be walking along the route taken by the martyrs, stopping at the Church of Sts Anselm and St Cecilia, at St Giles-in-the-Fields, and and at St Patrick's, Soho Square. We finish at Tyburn Convent with Benediction. The Walk is part of a tradition stretching back a hundred years, commemorating the Martyrs and praying for our country and for unity and goodwill among Christians. We pray the Rosary, and there are opportunities for Confession. Come and join us.
...about the Prodigal Son. The finest bit of the story is the Father, who sees the son from far off, and runs out to meet him. The initiative comes from him, and the son's is actually rather grudging - he's only homeward-bound because he knows that at least there'll be some food there. The Father's heart is full of love and concern.If he saw the son from far off, probably it was because he glanced that way often, day after day, praying and hoping....but what if the son arrives announcing that he's been right all along, that he's a saint and no sinner, and just what the family needs, and he's going to change things to the way he believes they ought to have been from years back? Penitence is unpopular today, and "returning home" is more often seen in terms of assuming rights.
Friday, June 22, 2012
...evening at St Patrick's Soho Square, with a magnificent and evocative performance of a play about St Therese of Lisieux. A one-woman show: Eva Herendez in an unforgettable performance which had us spellbound from the moment she walked slowly up the aisle in the Carmelite habit, and sat down before us. Suddenly she was Therese, recounting incidents from childhood (as described in "Story of a Soul"), becoming - hilariously - a turgid novice-mistress listing the timetable for each day in the monastery, and, finally, revealing the self-surrender to the love of God that is at the heart of the Therese message. The church (which was packed) sort of held its breath as the story drew to its end. Extraordinary. Well worth seeing this fine piece of theatre. It's been presented in churches and theatres around France, and even in some prisons, where it's drawn a deep response. If you get the chance, do see this play.
...come under fire a lot, and there will be more if this ghastly same-sex marriage scheme goes through and schools are told that they must teach that two people of the same sex can marry...which no Catholic school can teach under any circumstances. Meanwhile I have been spending the week sending out certificates and prizes for the 2012 Schools RE Project run by the Association of Catholic Women and realising just what a lot of good work is done in Catholic junior schools in Britain. They face an uphill task, however. Vast numbers of those who seek to send their children to Catholic schools are not actually practising the Faith, and indeed seem puzzled at the notion that they should, as Catholics, actually go to Mass every Sunday...
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
...by von Balthasar that I mentioned (see below) was actually produced jointly bewteen Von B. and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now BXVI. They sort of have it half-each. It's Mary - the Church at the source and it's fascinating. Explains just why the decision of the Fathers at Vatican II to include Mary in the document on the Church rather than just have something separate about her was hugely prophetic as well as being absolutely right.
...of The Keys the Catholic Writers' Guild, Mary Kenny, has a good piece in the Irish Independent about the Eucharistic Congress. I've been hearing a good deal about it, too, as I've spent this week at the offices of the CTS in London, working on the Schools RE Project run jointly the CTS and the Association of Catholic Women. A team from the CTS spent the week in Dublin and returned highly enthused and inspired, which is quite the reverse of how I thought things would be. I hadn't known they were going, but learned about it when I arrived at the South London HQ (Vauxhall, in a building that owes its existence to Bishop Brown who worked long years in what was then a very poor district and who built the fine church of St Anne, now a thriving parish). A great procession of the Blessed Sacrament with about 12,000 people surging along, a packed stadium for the final rally on Sunday - the only complaint was that the various talks and workshops were in rooms that were too small, in some cases only sitting 200 people, so many were turned away and were disappointed. The Congress wasn't the biggest thing happening in Ireland at the weekend - for many, football took precedence. But it was a great event, a turning-point, and a sign of hope: read Mary's piece, and you'll get something of the flavour.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
...marked in South London. Father Anthony Richins celebrated Mass at Holy Ghost church in Balham, fifty years to the day that he celebrated his First Mass there, the day after his ordination. He taught for several years at the John Fisher School in Purley, a school with which Auntie has strong family connections, and we had a happy chat after Mass when I joined others bringing congratulations. I have some Jubilee prayer cards to give to other members of the family, and have also tucked one into my new Missal, where I already have the Ordination cards of young men recently ordained for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham...
Saturday, June 16, 2012
...at a vocational school wore a cross around his neck.The school authorities told him 'You'd better take off that cross. Otherwise, you're banned from campus, and what's more, you can't take part in any training programmes.' The boy refused, and was expelled." Sound familiar? It is actually a quote from Stanislaw Dziwisz' A Life with Karol, his moving account of his service with the man who became the world's first Polish Pope. The incident he describes here took place in the late 1960s, when Poland was under Communist rule and we in the West used to hear, from time to time, about the repression of the Church there and the courage shown by Catholics. Six decades on, and here in the West...
...at a busy week at Maryvale. Exploring ecclesiology, studying Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, rich theology on the nature of the Church...a midweek break for a visit to Boscobel, rich in history, where Charles II hid in the oak tree after the Battle of Worcester. Regular readers of this Blog will know that I love rain, and we had lashings of it spattering the windows of the old house at Maryvale, soaking into the green lawns. Night after night groups of people arrived from local parishes for a Novena of Masses leading up to the Feast of the Sacred Heart: Maryvale is a centre of devotion for this and has an old shrine dating back to recusant times.
...that the Lefebvrists have been summoned to the CDF, had a lengthy discussion, and been offered a Personal Prelature. Will they - or some of them - swallow pride and submit to Rome? They could do so, as they have been announcing that they "don't need to accept all of Vatican II" and will probably stick to that claim to save face, and can then go ahead. Once back in the Church, the struggle will be to adapt from the "non serviam" approach of the past few decades to "serviam", but that is certainly possible. And they will find that being in the Church changes them, and that as the years go by, they will not mind...and may some day wonder why they made all that fuss.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
...from now on, will mean Evensong and Mass at the Precious Blood church near London Bridge, where the South London Ordinariate group meets. I went for the first time this past Thursday. Evensong is beautiful, and although I had always thought of it as linked intrinsically with choirs-with-white-ruffles and evening-sunlight-through-stained-glass and bells-pealing-out-over-English-countryside, it works just as well in a big brick London church with a railway trundling alongside. The Ordinariate group has a cheery parish feel to it, and we gathered afterwards for champagne and cake as there were three major birthdays to be marked including that of the priest. It was appropriate to be marking this particular Thursday, as it was the ORIGINAL FEAST DAY for CORPUS CHRISTI, now pointlessly transferred to Sunday. Please, dear Bishops, may we have our feast-days back? In lieu, we had a Votive Mass of the Precious Blood. Anyway, from now on: Thursday, Evensong 6pm, Mass at 6.30pm. Nearest station: London Bridge. The Mass will also be useful for all the local city-office workers.
...where Bl. John Henry Newman lived and prayed and worked, where in service in Church of England, he built a church and served as its faithful pastor, and where in study and reflection he came to the momentous decision to be recieved into the fullness of the Catholic Church...it's on the outskirts of Oxford and now has a large modern church dedicated to Bl Dominic Barberi who recieved Newman into the Church. The community of The Work, which cares for The College where Newman lived, holds an annual summer Garden Party: a gathering of friends, strawberries and cream, a raffle, stalls selling cakes etc....and in true English style, it was held in the church hall this year because of the weather. I met a number of friends there including a young man who was one of the big Quo Vadis group attending World Youth Day last year - and who was doing sterling work this afternoon selling raffle tickets...
Friday, June 08, 2012
...the Catholic Writers' Guild. Mass and dinner at St Mary Moorfields. Master of the Guild, Mary Kenny, gave her valedictory speech, telling tales of 1960s Fleet Street and pondering on playwriting,people,politics and popularity, with some thoughts on journalistic ethics and the craziness of filing-the-story-on-time in the days before email. It was a splendid evening, well worthy of the great traditions of The Keys. Mass before was celebrated by our chaplain Fr Peter Newby. In the sermon he commented on the perils of being assailed by people who become obsessive on one particular topic, a tendency to which religious-types can too easily become attached. I have written on this subject .
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
...at Westminster Cathedral to give thanks for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. At Clapham Junction, clutching my special invitation-only ticket, I ran into a friend who had his ditto and we travelled to the Cathedral together. Glad we got their early. Three quarters of an hour before the Mass was due to start it was filling up rapidly, people content to sit or kneel in silence for a long time just to be there....Soon there were no spare places at all. The Lord Mayor of Westminster arrived with glittering chain of office and was led to a seat in the front. Mass began with a great procession to the sanctuary - Archbishop Vincent, other bishops, lots and lots of priests (and a great double-column of seminarians, a sign of promise and hope for the future), plus of course that fabulous choir...We had Mozart's magnificent Kronungsmesse - it is glorious to hear stunning sacred music in the setting for which it was originally intended, the celebration of Holy Mass - and for the other sung parts everyone joined in with great strength, a great chorus of voices roaring out the plainsong Pater Noster and Agnus Dei...as the Mass ended we said the Jubilee prayer for the Queen and then sang the National Anthem with full hearts...and slowly the procession left the sanctuary to Walton's Coronation March... It was all magnificent, and I think the Queen would have loved it. Earlier, the Archbishops of Edinburgh, Westminster and Cardiff were at the big thanksgiving service at St Paul's, a nice ecumenical statement. When the Mass was over, people stood in pouring rain under umbrellas and talked about the Jubilee - one young about-to-be-seminarian who shared his umbrella with me had spent the morning with the vast outside St Paul's cheering HM in and out, and seemed unworried by the wet. These Jubilee days have certainly done the nation good. The moral and spiritual state of Britain requires much, much more than this, of course....but joy and thanksgiving and a spirit of community are good things in themselves, and open our hearts to more good things...
...is a fine Wren church that stands facing the river, not far from Blackfriars. An excellent venue for the special Evensong last week to mark the 45th anniversary of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some lovely singing from the St-Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe girls' choir, who looked extremely charming in their red-checked school dresses (Sir John Cass Foundation School)and were so delightful aftewards, helping to hand round the drinks and snacks... Dr Richard Chartres, the (Anglican) Bishop of London, preached extremely well, placing the evening in the great perspective of 2,000 years of Christian life and worship. I am so glad I attended this very special event: may the EBVM grow and flourish. London is looking beautiful in its Diamond Jubilee flags - and the weather is just right. This isn't a hot-weather city, and on scorching days it feels bleak, with dust and insufficient shade, and few fountains and too much traffic, and plump people exposing too much scorched pink flesh and dropping their drink-cans and expanded-polystyrene cups and ice-cream wrappers everywhere...Today, in cold winds and grey might-it-rain mode, the bright shops and red buses and chattering people exude a welcome. I am off to Westminster Cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Mass, wearing a new dress and matching hat...
Monday, June 04, 2012
...a street party where we live. My task was to produce the Quiz. In response to requests, I reproduce it here. It's all just for fun: see if you can match the knowledge of our local residents - a multi-racial group, with children and adults, representing a heritage that includes Korea, India, Poland, and Italy among other places. We enjoyed a wonderful party with delicious food, spicy meat cooked on a barbeque, potato salads, Polish soup, chocolate cakes, scones,sandwiches, fruit punch, and more...and we sang Happy Birthday to the chap at number 25 who organised the event(his birthday was this weekend), raised three hearty cheers for Her Majesty, and had a tug-of-war and face-painting as well as the Quiz. We lined up by the Queen's picture and waved flags for a photograph, and feel we've made our own small contribution to the Jubilee. One of several thousand street-parties held across Britain this weekend. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- QUIZ For the DIAMOND JUBILEE of HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Max: 30 points. 1. What year was the Norman Conquest and what was the name of the Saxon king who got killed at the Battle of Hastings? (2 points) 2. Who was the next king after William the Conqueror? (1 point) 3. Which king had six wives? What were their names? (7 points) 4. Who was the Lord Chancellor of England who was executed at the Tower of London in 1535, saying “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first”? (1 point) 5. Which king fought against Oliver Cromwell and lost? (1 point) 6. Who was king when the American colonies broke away to form the United States of America? (1 point) 7. What year was the Battle of Waterloo? (1 point) 8. What was the name of Queen Victoria’s husband (Christian name AND surname?) (2 points) 9. In 1901 King Edward VII became king (on the death of Queen Victoria). Who came after him? (1 point) 10. In July 1916 a terrible battle was fought which brought the highest number of casualties ever known in the history of the British Army. What was that battle? (1 point) 11. Which king abdicated in order to marry an American lady who had already divorced two husbands?(1 point) 12. What year was the Battle of Britain? (1 point) 13. Who was Prime Minister when Queen Elizabeth II first came to the throne? (1 point) 14. In 1979 Mrs Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Who was the Prime Minister before her? (1 point) 15. What is the name of the queen’s castle in the Scottish Highlands? And her house in Norfolk?(2 points) 16. Our coins carry the letters FD after the Queen’s name. Why? (1 point) 17. Where was the Queen crowned? (1 point) 18. What is the official address of the Prime Minister? (1 point) 19. What was the name of the first Pope ever to visit Britain? What is the name of the present Pope? (2 points) 20. What does a lady do on meeting the Queen? And a gentleman? (2 points)
Sunday, June 03, 2012
...making a grand day. Crowds at the local station, cramming on to trains. In London, I headed for Mass at St Patrick's, Soho Square. Glorious music, especially the Panis Angelicus after Communion, beautifully sung...after Mass, there is usually a great gathering for coffee and buns, but today most people were heading elsewhere, just as I was. "Off to see Her Maj?" asked Fr Alexander, and yes, that's just what I was doing.Tube to Charing Cross and then I walked down Whitehall to see the Chere Reine. Crowds teeming everywhere, Westminster Bridge packed tight...I finally settled, along with hundreds and hundreds of others, in the gardens next to Parliament. Ideal place. As people found spaces and opened packets of sandwiches, the atmosphere was just as I remember it from Cofton Park during the Pope's visit in 2010 - friendly, chattery,damp, wonderful. A vast TV screen brought us the scenes further up-river as the Royal family arrived and the great flotilla gathered...when the Queen appeared, everyone broke into cheers and whistles and applause, and for the next two hours it was all a party atmosphere, and very delightful. London at its best - damp grass, grey skies, no actual rain and everyone being friendly. When the boats and barges reached our stretch of the river we all stood and cheered like anything. Then, queues for the loos,followed an orderly trudge out into Millbank and the surrounding streets, and the rain started to hurtle down just as I was heading towards Victoria Station. Found refuge in Westminster Cathedral, to be greeted by a pic. of the Queen - she's on the front page of the current Cathedral magazine (which incidentally also has a feature by Auntie in it). Then on home...donning my emergency plastic-poncho-left-over-from-the-Papal-visit when the rain really got ferocious as I left our local station. I wonder whether there will ever be a Royal event like this again? The Britain of today is so utterly different from the one the Queen inherited in 1952, but sitting in the Parliament gardens on the damp grass I did feel a sense of continuity and familiarity. The screaming violence of last summer's riots, the routine drunkeness and vomiting and shrieking of summer evenings in our suburban shopping centres, the bleak adoption of formalised slogans in place of sincere discussion on crucial social and moral issues, all slipped away for a while, and we were just ordinary friendly people enjoying solidarity and a sense of shared patriotism.
...for the Jubilee celebrations. But then that's sort of British and traditional. I'm heading for LOndon anyway. At Masses this weekend, there will be a special prayer for the Queen, after the postCommunion prayers and before the final Blessing: the Bishops of England and Wales have issued a special liturgical directive giving instructions on this, and you can read it all here.
Saturday, June 02, 2012
...at this time of difficulty. And rejoice that he found such a gigantic wave of love and enthusiasm from those vast crowds in Milan. The theft of letters from the Holy Father's office is going to be the subject of endless gossip and speculation. One possibility is that it may have been carried out by dupes who believed that they were really "helping" the Pope by stealing his correspondence. I have often been appalled by the way in which stupid Catholics will accept nutcase freemasons-in-the-vatican-who-surround-the-pope conspiracy theories (think Visions/Huge Secrets Not Yet Revealed/Paul VI-was-really-a-lookalike/Vatican-II-was-all-a-plot etc etc). This kind of gullibility can be used and abused. Meanwhile, thank God for a serene and courageous Pope, and for the thousands and thousands who turned out to cheer him today. As always, he talked a lot of sense: I like his idea of families helping other families and his rallying call to the young was magnificent...
Friday, June 01, 2012
...and a notable anniversary. Read here (and listen to Auntie on Vatican Radio) to reflect on the 30th anniversary of the visit of Blessed John Paul the Great to Britain. It is pleasing that this anniversary marches with the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of HM the Queen this weekend. I have just finished putting up bunting, hanging it across from window to window with the help of a neighbour, ready for the street party...
...to watch a new production of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", CS Lewis' classic brought to the stage. And what a stage...a gigantic tent with the most fantastic displays of light and snow and fire, in which the characters fly and battles and drama and firelight and music and Aslan's roar take us utterly to Narnia. I had envisaged a rather tame theatre-in-the-summer-garden type of evening, but it is nothing of the kind - you are transported to another world, and caught up in the hugeness of the drama with its great redemptive message. The play is absolutely faithful to Lewis, in dialogue and in style and mood. The great question of how to depict Aslan has been tackled by following the lead given in "War Horse" and with the same good effect. The White Witch is magnificent, icy-toned with glittering crystal vowels, terrifying and cruel. The children are convincing.The scene at the Stone Table brought absolute, tingling silence to an audience that had been following the drama with tangible participation all the way through and was now gripped. This is a don't-miss production. Some scenes too scary for very young children - I would say it's for 9 and up. YOUR TEEANGERS MUST SEE THIS. Get more info here. and there's a useful review here...