Staging a story as well known as William Nicholson’s Shadowlands invites comparison: whose version is truest, or is theatre  always preferable to film?

Which actors best portray Jack and Joy,  and what secondary characters, music, lighting and props illustrate the drama to greatest effect?   

I’ve seen many Shadowlands  and -  this  may sound surprising -  but not even the starriest film comes  close  to Alastair Whatley’s production at  Worthing.

Stephen Boxer’s journey from repressed academic to loving husband is palpable, wondrously demonstrated as he lectures on God, Pain, Love and Suffering without any idea what it actually means. 

As Lewis wrote, he was surprised by Joy, hit over the head by Amanda Ryan’s  feistiness and captivated by her  direct intelligence  and sense of humour.

Nicholson was wise enough to borrow much of Lewis’ own writing for his witty wordiness but both actors are so credible they take your breath away.

Simon Shackleton is perfect as the chauvinist Riley and Denis Lill makes an ideal foil to his brother’s intellect. 

Selected music  illustrates Christmas or  Church, sensitive lighting portrays Greece, winter, or spring, and minimal props become a College, a hospital or Lewis’ chilly parlour. 

Joy dies – but Lewis lives.