Review: The Lion, The B!tch and the Wardrobe

This spectacle is the show your naughtiest dreams are made of — and more!

If you’re looking for a pantomime that is more naughty than nice, this is it! And we’re in love! The Lion, The B!tch and the Wardrobe is a sexy, queer Christmas cabaret parody of C. S. Lewis’ magical story from the team that created last year’s XXXmas Carol. After the huge success of last year’s XXXmas Carolyou can read our review of that show here — Wales Millennium Centre returns with another queer alternative Christmas show, bringing drag, musical theatre and burlesque to the land of the snow queen.

Step into another world filled with flirty fauns, wicked wolves, a couple of beavers and the baddest b!tch of them all — Cardiff drag legend Polly Amorous. She’s been rummaging deep in her wardrobe to find some presents, and what has she pulled out? Dazzling drag, sensational circus, sickening songs, bewitching burlesque, and some tinsel handcuffs! It’s always winter in Narnia, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to get H.O.T.

From the moment we stepped into Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio — through a rail of glittery gowns, seductive suspenders, and more, no less — we were transported to another world. The small crew re-tell the C. S. Lewis story: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, through song and dance, with just a sprinkling of acrobatic prowess, burlesque, and drag.

Polly Amorous (Twm Bollen-Molloy) is our narrator and unlikely heroine. Mesmerising acrobatic dancer Eric McGill, is Mr Bum-nus, a faun with a kink for punishment, and Polly’s first friend in the world through the wardrobe. Our Queen is played by Bunmi Odumosu, and is the worthy adversary to Polly.

Rahim El Habachi, Foo Foo LaBelle, and Asha Jane all play a mix of supporting characters, who join in and support Polly as she conquers the Queen and thaws Narnia of all the ice. These characters include Mr and Mrs Beaver, Ass-lan, and a feisty Father Christmas. The whole show is MD’d by Felix Sürbe on the piano, who also has a cameo as a circus act, outshining Polly to the crowd’s pleasure. Polly promptly puts him back in his place behind the keys.

A particular highlight was the audience participation number. A solitary chair was placed on the stage, ready for an unsuspecting member of the audience to take a seat, for a sexy dance from Foo Foo LaBelle (Stephanie Gawne).

The stage is placed centrally in the space, with the audience sat cabaret-style around all four sides of the stage. Drinks are ordered via an app and brought to your table. This creates a great, immersive experience, where everyone feels close to the performers, and there is no need to leave this magical world.

The Lion, The B!tch and the Wardrobe is on at Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre 8 – 31 December 2022. Tickets from £15 available online here or from the Wales Millennium Centre Box Office. Suitable for over-18s only.

Image credits: Jorge Lizalde