The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Aslan and the Pevensie children. photo by Graeme Braidman

We were delighted to design and direct the puppetry for Birmingham Rep's new production of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, directed by Tessa Walker.

The puppets were designed by Jo Lakin and Mervyn Millar, and directed by Mervyn Millar. A terrific cast and creative team including director Tessa Walker, designer Jamie Vartan and movement director Polly Bennett makes this a very exciting project.

Our puppets were made by a team led by Jo Lakin. Makers were Helen Foan, Jessica Jones, Sarah Vigars and Rosie Williams.

Aslan was puppeteered by Nuno Silva, David Albury and James Charlton. Grumpskin, Rumblebuffin and the Robin are puppeteered by Danielle Bird. Other puppets are performed by the cast including Emily Goodenough, Jo Servi and Thomas Aldridge.

The production ran in November and December 2015, and January 2016.

Much of the theatrical magic of this world is created by the wonderful puppetry which imparts lifelike mannerisms to hand-held squirrels and robins. The piece de resistance is an impressive three-person Aslan, whose forbidding stature, undulating movement and realistic head movement evokes the animal might of the National Theatre's long-running War Horse.Diane Parkes, The Stage

The cast consists of both actors and puppeteers and the fluidity of their movements and seamless interactions is one of the most appealing things about the production. Aslan the lion, in particular, is an amazing creation courtesy of Jo Lakin and Mervyn Millar, beautifully executed by a trio of performers headed by Nuno Silva. Moving elegantly and speaking and singing with exactly the right tone of authority and gravitas, it's possible to believe that this is almost a real giant king of the beasts commanding the stage.Michael Davies,

Putting on this children's classic was always going to be a challenge - how do you capture the magnificent power and beauty of the lion Aslan? In this wonderful production he is a giant puppet, operated by three men who did an amazing job bringing him to life, each movement so perfect you could see beyond the skeletal structure and almost imagine he is real… the wonderful puppetry, and powerful performances by the entire cast bring so much energy to this play.

If you are looking for a Christmas show which will captivate the kids - this is most definitely worth seeing. Simply magical.Sarah Probert, Birmingham Mail

…the stars of the show are the puppets (designed by Mervyn Millar and Jo Lakin). From small woodland creatures, to giants and dwarves, to the enormous Aslan creation; the level of detail is quite extraordinary. Aslan is in three detached pieces and the direction/operation of this puppet is faultless. Colin Grenfell's lighting emphasises its beauty. Nuno Silva operates the head whilst commanding the voice of Aslan and his vocals carry the exact warm tone and power of authority required. Danielle Bird also needs to be greatly recognised for her phenomenal puppeteering skills throughout.

A fun treat for the whole family which will certainly get you in the festive spirit.Jenny Ell,