Theater Review: The Fascinating Trumpets Production of The Horse and His Boy

I am a fan of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. I've read all the books when I was still in high school many, many years ago. So it is a pleasure to see some of the stories being made into movies and I am looking forward to more films on Narnia in the future. I was equally delighted to find out that Trumpets is staging the fifth book in the series and excitedly attended its press preview the other night.

Reb Atadero plays Shasta
The Horse and His Boy is the story of an orphan boy named Shasta (played by Reb Atadero), and a talking horse called Bree (played by Joel Trinidad) who went on a journey to leave oppression and slavery behind. Their destination? Narnia -- the place the horse calls home and where the boy hopes to find who he is and where he truly belongs.

amazing rendition of horses
(you have to watch the show to fully appreciate them!)
On the road, they meet a runaway young noblewoman, Aravis (played by Cara Barredo), and her talking mare, Hwin (played by Jill Peña), who are also seeking freedom. Together, the four embark on a grand adventure where they would face the unknown through deserts and mountains while risking being captured, having several dangerous encounters, taking part in a battle, and, ultimately, finding their destinies.

Shasta's first encounter with Aslan

Present, too, are some of Narnia's beloved characters -- Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who now reign as monarchs of Narnia, the faun Tumnus and, of course, the Great Lion, Aslan, among other new, colorful, and fascinating characters.

Lucy and Susan
Watching this production was a treat as the actors played their roles really well. I am glad to see familiar faces such as Reb (the quirky guardian angel in Dani Girl) and Cara (who played Reb's love interest in The Graduate) together on stage again as well as Joel,  (everybody's favorite Caveman). I've seen them in various productions in the past and tremendously admire their talents.

Aravis and friend Lasaraleen
Jill, together with Joel and the other two actors who played the halves of Bree and Hwin, plus the actors carrying the riders, must be commended for their graceful and synchronized movements. I can only imagine how hard it must be to play half a horse and wearing heavy costumes!

Aravis injured from by a lion
Speaking of costumes and the set, Mio Infante did such a great job designing both. The use of lights, shadows, and puppets are awesome! One simply can't help but be amazed at how everything was put together to create a magical and colorful stage that is perfect for the story.

a happy ending
Other amazing actors in the cast are Mako Alonso, Gab Medina, Raymund Concepcion, Jeremy Domingo, Randy Villarama, Justine Peña, Nic Campos, Chesko Rodriguez, Maronne Cruz, George Schulze, Edrei Tan, Matthew Barbers, Pamela Imperial, Chino Veguillas, Vincent Pajara, Arya Herrera, Jhay Dela Cruz, and several alumni from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe: Robbie Zialcita, Steve Cadd, Mayen Bustamante-Cadd, and Jun Ofrasio.

curtain call
The Horse and His Boy is written by Luna Griño-Inocian and directed by Jaime del Mundo. It is something every Narnia fan should come and watch. Hear what Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis and Executive Producer of the Disney Narnia films, has to say about Filipino talent:

"There’s something absolutely unique about the creativity of Filipino artists. They look at life in a very joyous way, in a very different way from the western world on the other side of the planet … In the Philippines, there aren’t any limits with what you can do with your imagination. Everybody else is bound by traditions and this sort of, 'Oh, we mustn’t do that, it doesn’t look right for us,' all of that kind of attitude. In the Philippines ... you take what I have in my garage right now, a 1944 Willys jeep ... You have jeepneys, that’s the difference! I’ve got a completely vanilla custard car sitting there. It’ll do what it’s supposed to do -- it’s ugly, it’s noisy, it leaks oil, it does all kinds of idiotic things. But over here, you have jeepneys, which are absolute works of art. Now, we can take anything and make it ugly. Filipinos can take anything and make it beautiful."

a majestic exit
Now that, is one of the most beautiful tributes to Filipinos I've ever heard! :) Thank you Mr. Gresham for the kind words!

congratulations to the cast and crew!
Catch The Horse and His Boy with the whole family from Friday to Sunday starting November 6 to 22 at the Meralco Theater. You can purchase tickets from or call Trumpets at 901.4364. You can also get updates of #TrumpetsHHB'#epicride on The Horse and His Boy by Trumpets on Facebook.

* See more photos I took during the press preview at the Write, Breathe, Live Facebook album.

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