A whirlWIND of a performance – Wind in the Willows

A brand new British musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s beloved novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’ comes to the London Palladium. Writer Julian Fellowes (best-known for creating Downton Abbey). The musical also features music and lyrics by Olivier Award-winning duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Director Rachel Kavanaugh, the production features design by Peter McKintosh, choreography by Aletta Collins, lighting design by Howard Harrison and sound design by Gareth Owen.

Rufus Hound (actor and comedian) is the star of this new musical in which he plays the thrill-seeking mischievous Mr Toad along with Ratty (Simon Lipkin), Badger (Gary Wilmot) and Mole (Craig Mather), Mrs Otter (Denise Welch) and Chief Weasel (Neil McDermott).

The story starts with Mole seeking much adventure. He comes across a riverbank and befriends Ratty. Ratty introduces Mole to many woodland creatures eventually introducing him to Mr Toad. This is where the adventures really begin. Mr Toad takes Mole and Ratty on naughty misadventures! However when Mr Toad gets arrested for his need for speed Toad Hall becomes under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel (Neil McDermott) and his gang of Wild Wooders. Whilst Mr Toad is inprisoned he must find a crafty way to escape as he needs his need for speed. However when he does finally escape he hears that his beloved Toad Hall has been taken over my Chief Weasel and gang. He also discovers that Mrs Otter’s daughter is also being held hostage in a cage at Toad Hall getting fattened up by Chief Weasel and gang for dinner. So it is up to Mr Toad, Mole, Ratty, Badger and Mrs Otter to come up with a cunning plan to save her daughter and save Toad Hall.

This musical is a fast paced engaging musical full of catchy tunes and comedy by Mr Toad’s ‘poop poop’ jokes. The parts of the show I enjoyed the most was seeing Mr Toads many transportations from the cars to the train. I also loved the Hedgehog scene of Mr and Mrs Hedgehog teaching her children how to cross the road which was funny and sweet and a good way to also teach children safety that were in the audience. All the set scenes were great but not outstanding plus feel that the costumes could have been better even though colourful and fun they to me did lack a bit of something maybe it is because I would of liked the actors/actresses to look more like animals. Not as elaborate as other London Pallidum productions. However this actual Wind in the Willows classic story is great and is played very well by all especially the talented comical Rufus Hound who plays his character Mr Toad to a very high standard.

I did at the end of the play wait outside the stage door to try and get a photo with Gary Wilmot and Rufus Hound but I was highly disappointed as Rufus never came out so I am not sure if he went out another way or left really early before I could get to the stage door and Gary Wilmot just bolted on by all of us fans which I felt was quite rude, he did not even stop and say anything he just legged it down the street.

If you are a lover of Wind in the Willows, love animals and much fun then this is most certainly a play not to be missed.

This play is shown from June 17th to September 9th 2017.

“Such a rich chapter it had been, when one came to look back on it all! With illustrations so numerous and so very highly coloured!” quote by Kenneth Grahame

 

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