Review
Wind in the Willows REVIEW

By James Iles Wednesday 05 December 2012 Updated: 07/12 09:42

Latest News

Buy photos » Matthew Douglas stars as Toad in The Wind in the Willows. Picture by Robert Day.

Wind in the Willows

Crescent Theatre, Birmingham

Until January 19, 2013

I’M not a big fan of the pantomime that’s served up like an over-generous helping of Christmas pudding at this time of year so I always seek out the alternative Christmas family show.

Kenneth Grahame’s classic Wind in the Willows at Crescent Theatre in Birmingham, adapted by Alan Bennett, therefore appealed to take my young sons to see and it did not disappoint.

The intimacy of the Crescent Theatre ensures a good view of the stage from wherever you sit (and whatever your height) and the audience were certainly drawn into this good old-fashioned and enthralling tale.

Indeed, unlike the panto rigmarole of being shouted at to join in, no invitation was needed for the captivated crowd to gasp and cheer with the stage antics, even leading some to smart ad libbing from the superb Matthew Douglas as the larger-than-life Toad who clicked so well with all in the room.

True to Grahame’s Edwardian original work based on letters to his son, Bennett’s adaptation is subtly adjusted for the modern audience and was even comically localised by the Brummie depressive stand-up of Albert the Horse – played by the brilliant Chris Nayak.

The costumes were fantastic. Ratty, played by Oliver J Hembrough, was suave and debonaire in his naval blazer and whites, Moley (Nicholas Prasad) was traditional in his 1920s suit and Toad was hopping out of his plus fours with green socks.

The musical ensemble who opened the show switched to acting and actors swapped to play instruments and sing in this resourceful production that did not need to rely on gimmicks and stunts to engage you thanks to a multi-talented cast.

I left thinking how my circle of friends would fit into the foursome of the naïve but loyal Moley, pragmatic but poetic Ratty, withdrawn but wise Badger and boisterous and blithe Toad which just shows how much they connected.

This was a great alternative festive family show suitable for all ages and anyone yearning for a heart-warming tale with no vulgarity but plenty of adventure, a bit of slapstick and song and above all some enjoyable and honest fun.

For tickets visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

James Iles

Popular »

1 Arrivederci as restaurant shuts its doors

2 Work begins on former Russell and Dorrell site

3 Santa ready to hit the streets

4 Fund-raisers are spot on for Pudsey

5 Kempsey woman killed by cocktail of drugs and alcohol

More entertainment »

Gig Guide...

HERE'S this week's at-a-glance Gig Guide listing some

Victorian flavour to Christmas celebration

A NEW VICTORIAN Christmas-themed show celebrating the 200th

Competition: Win tickets to top classical concert

LEGENDARY Dutch violinist, conductor and composer, André Rieu

Review: The Ladykillers - REVIEW

The Ladykillers Malvern Theatres As Malvern Festival Theatre’s

Regional entertainment »


Stratford Observer
Vicar of Dibley back at The Bear Pit

THE VICAR of Dibley is coming to Stratford. The Bear ...

Bromsgrove Standard
Plenty of fun trying to solve the murder at the ...

HAVING never been to a murder mystery night, but always ...

Redditch Standard
Electrifying Courteeners performance

The Courteeners, Birmingham O2 Academy Thursday, November 20 TO CELEBRATE ...

Evesham Observer
Keeping everyone guessing at charity evening

WHEN an Evesham couple commissioned a murder mystery film for ...