Writer: Kenneth Graham
Director: Mark Collier
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Mole comes out of the safety of his beloved home. Tired of spring cleaning he decides to explore. Ending up by the river bank, he meets Ratty (a cultured water vole) and they become firm friends. Ratty shows Mole the joys of the river and their adventures begin. This is the start of Box Tale Soup’s wondrous new adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved classic, The Wind in the Willows.
From the beginning, there is a magic about this piece. The music of the original score lures the audience into the world of the woods and river bank with warmth and charm; having a tranquil, Nick Drake-like, quality to it.
The actors are wonderful to watch; totally immersed in their characters and the story telling process. The puppets are nicely crafted; the Amazing Toad is a particularly delightful creation and there is a very imaginative use of headgear to represent various modes of transport, including the shiny cars Toad is so much obsessed by.
The darkness of the wild wood and its nefarious inhabitants (stoats and weasels) are represented well; with the smaller ones in the audience momentarily frightened by their appearance. Thankfully, Mr Badger is at hand, as a reassuring presence.
Running at just over seventy minutes long, the show is a scene or two too long; children begin to shuffle in their seats just before the hour. However, with some light editing and less reverence to the original story, the play has the potential be become a children’s theatre favourite.
Reviewed on 4 June 2017