An important ten-year anniversary passed without my noticing, and I’d like to make up for my failure to mark it with this little post.
Paul McCusker’s Focus on the Family Radio Theatre adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia is truly one of the greatest gifts to the Christian church I know of—at least to those elements of the church which travel in minivans. This is a family favorite—no the family favorite. McCusker, unlike the directors of the three ill-fated Narnia films (all of them known Calormens), gets Narnia. That’s because he knows Aslan personally. He also doesn’t suffer from the illusion that he can write better stories or dialogue than Lewis. He knows exactly when to adapt to the radio drama format and when to hew tightly to Lewis’ own words.
The voice acting is top-notch. The music is expertly done. The pacing is perfect. And the stories are worth the attention lavished on them. They have shaped me: Aslan’s sacrifice, Lucy’s faith and love, Uncle Andrew’s blindness, the dwarves’ ultimate treachery, Puddleglum’s epistemological sophistication, Eustace’s de-dragoning, Shasta’s surprise to meet the planner of his travels. Lewis manages to create interesting evil characters as well as interesting good ones. That’s hard. He also themed each book after one of the medieval planets, which, of course, is very easy to do and is a common literary strategy among children’s book authors…
I have been listening to these albums for probably a dozen years, since grad school; and I’ve probably heard each one a dozen times. They just don’t get old. I’m now delighted to share them with the growing young passengers in the back of the minivan. If you don’t own this set, you must.