Theatre review: Of Wardrobes and Rings

JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis '“ arguably the inventors of the fantasy genre as we know it today, or at least the branch of it set in worlds other than our own '“ were contemporaries at Oxford, co-founding a literary group known as the Inklings and generally spurring each other on to write.

Their eventual estrangement – over, among other things, Tolkien’s dislike of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and schisms in their respective subscriptions to Catholicism and Protestantism – is well-documented. This play from Rising Image Productions imagines their reconciliation, as the two men meet in Oxford’s Eagle and Child pub in 1963.

It’s a gentle and informative production, covering each man’s attitude to literature, religion and each other. None of it is especially exciting – it’s just two older gents chatting in a pub, after all – but it’s a pleasant enough way to spend an hour, especially if you’re a fan of either author’s work. Of the pair, David Robinson’s Tolkien is slightly more solid – David Payne fumbles the odd line as Lewis, though this can charitably be attributed to Lewis’s rather more infirm state at this time in his life.

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