THERE has not been a better touring production in Yorkshire this year than Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre for the National Theatre, as seen at the Grand Opera House, York, Leeds Grand Theatre and Hull New Theatre.

Cookson had previously delighted West Yorkshire Playhouse audiences with Hetty Feather and La Strada; she staged Cinderella: A Fairytale for Tobacco Factory Theatres and last Christmas her Peter Pan took to the skies at the National.

If you could have picked one director to bring theatrical magic to C S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe in the Playhouse Christmas show, it was Sally Cookson, and everything that marked out her extraordinary Jane Eyre is here once more: the movement; the energy; the rolling, eerie folk music; the imagination; the improvised props; the importance of being an ensemble company; the absolute clarity of the storytelling; the timeless tools of theatre.

Something is different about this Cookson production, however. It is bigger, vaster, in scale than her past feats, courtesy of the Quarry Theatre being converted into the round, as big as a Big Top tent, for the first time in the Playhouse's 27 years, and what a fantastical playpen it creates for designer Rae Smith.

Devotees of Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre or those who enjoyed Damian Cruden converting York Theatre Royal into a circle for The Wind in The Willows in 2010 and The Crucible and more besides in 2011 will know how inclusive this form of theatre can be: you are not only constantly aware of the actors, but of the audience. We are all in this together, to purloin an overused phrase from a bygone George Osborne Budget speech.

What's more, the way Sally Cookson makes theatre, you really can see her company making theatre – putting the play into play through their devising process – and this is all the better in the Round. Aerial skills and swings befitting of a circus are engineered with white bed sheets; suitcases become the carriages of a train borne above the actors heads, just as children would play; the fur coats in the wardrobe that leads Cora Kirk's Lucy move and sway because a cast member is inside each one. Theatre magic indeed, just like the ice-white lighting that crackles across the stage.

In a canny directorial decision, the Pevensie children uprooted and evacuated to Professor Kirke's ramshackle Scottish country house in the Second World are Leeds lads and lasses, immediately establishing a stronger connection with the audience.

Already strangers in a strange land, separated from their parents amid the turmoil of war, the children are all the more so in the perennially icy chill of the bewitched Narnia as they encounter Peter Caulfield's timid but amusing fawn, Mr Tumnus, Mr and Mrs Beaver and the show's most impactful character, Carla Mendonca's menacing White Witch, icicle talons, withering looks et al.

The first-half finale, as she towers over the auditorium in ever-expanding white sheeting that mirrors the round design, is the show's thunder-struck high point, never quite matched by the battle scenes or indeed Iain Johnstone's Aslan, the lion in need of more of a roar, as the rhythm slows.

In keeping with our modern, religion-is-uncool times, Aslan's Christian allegory is watered down, his death scene the one mythological moment undercooked by Cookson, stripping it of emotion before a beatific finale worthy of Glastonbury's Green Fields has us wishing to rush to a wardrobe once more.

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Quarry Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, until January 27. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or