REVIEW: Shadowlands - Worthing's Connaught Theatre

Shadowlands by William NicholsonShadowlands by William Nicholson
Shadowlands by William Nicholson

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

For those familiar with C.S Lewis' works, '˜Shadowlands' will conjure images of the gentle explanation at the end of the Narnia books - that this world is merely a shadow of a world beyond.

The play centres on the love story of C.S. Lewis - known as ‘Jack’ - and American divorcee Joy Gresham. It’s a simple plot line, not many frills or surprises, but pleasingly executed. Stephen Boxer (Jack) and Amanda Ryan (Joy) capture perfectly the awkward transition from acquaintance to friends and from friends to romantic love.

Don’t expect any gushing high-drama or scandalous revelations. This is an unadorned, tender and heart-felt journey from intellectual theory to personal experience.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At first glance, the production is similarly sparse. The absence of any unneccessarily complicated scene changes is a good choice, however. Instead, the drama is completely carried by the acting skills of the cast: Denis Lill in particular does a wonderfully endearing Major W.H Lewis, Jack’s brother.

The opening half moves rather slowly, methodically introducing Lewis and his teaching on the problem of pain: If God is good, why do we suffer? Literary references and citations abound, but the somewhat philosophy heavy first-half gives way to a sincere and affectionate imagining of Jack’s everyday life.

Joy’s bright, frank and witty American sensibilities quickly disrupt the Oxfordian bachelor group, with humourous results. As Jack falls in love, the stakes rise, and his convictions are put to the test.

Surprisingly moving towards the end, with lighter touches of humour and a strong cast, ‘Shadowlands’ is recommended viewing for those interested in C.S. Lewis’ life, or indeed, the line between writing about something and truly knowing it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @Worthing_Herald

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Worthing Herald - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.

Related topics: