Wind in the Willows 

The egg theatre

9 June 2017

Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 children’s novel is brought to charming and amusing prestige by screenwriter and dramatist Alan Bennett. His version includes sharp and witty dialogue and melting charm. The Theatre Royal’s the Egg venue is wonderfully suited for the story as the staging is creatively used for the characters to travel through. Using the curvature edge of the stage allowed the actors to take full advantage of the space.

This interaction enabled the audience to be fully immersed into the story; hearing Badger and Mole discussing tactics on their way to fight the uninvited weasels occupying Toad Hall so closely was a real treat.

The adventures of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr. Toad were brilliantly portrayed by the cast. They exhibited limitless energy and fantastic characterisation. It wasn’t overexaggerated nor did they feel like they were holding back. With the number of laughs ringing through the stage, there was no doubt that the cast had great chemistry and confidence.

With a 360-degree space, the adventure was told around the audience which yet being a simple staging technique was also extremely effective at keeping the unpredictability of the story and our engagement completely focused. The differing levels added a fantastic dynamic to how the characters travelled around their environment.

Alan Bennett’s version of this classic tale is both utterly charming, imaginatively staged and face-achingly funny. This is a memorable production that experiments with its environment; producing a gleeful retelling of a much-adored story.

Final two performances today

By Louise Thacker

4 Stars.