Upon entering York Theatre Royal I was immediately struck by how much work has gone into this theatre production as I was transported into an amazing woodland scene reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.
This amazing set design in the foyer is a wonderful prelude to the fantastic play to follow.
Young or old, it doesn’t matter! You’ll still enjoy this immensely and remember it forever.
The theatre- in- the- round staging throws you head long into the action and mayhem on stage and the cleverly worked set design transports you seamlessly from scene to scene, so well done to Lydia Denno for the set and Richard G Jones for the clever lighting that transforms this Toad Hall set into everything and anything you can imagine.
The directors Damian Cruden and Katie Posner must be credited duly with this fine performance and many strokes of genius that play out magically in front of your eyes.
Now for me here comes the hard part reviewing the cast performances, I’ll start with the various children who were all so cute and adorable the audience “aaahhhheeeed” constantly when they were on stage as they pranced and preened themselves like the woodland animals they were playing.
Mole played by Robert Pickavance draws you effortlessly into the story and Ratty played by Jonathan Race snatches the mantle from him and has you transfixed for the entire first half with his brilliant performance. These two are fantastic together while every one else is left to being bit part players- until the second half that is!
Sarah Parks as Badger and Martin Barrass as Mr Toad then get there chance to shine and they are blinding. Conceited Mr Toad is wonderful and he bounces off the other characters seamlessly so all in all it is wonderfully acted.
My final thoughts on this magical play have to go with the wonderful wild-wooders who for me steal the show with their brilliant one-liners and brilliant music. Michael Lambourne as Chief Weasel and the horse is fantastic and you can’t seem to take your eyes off his sneering, leering boat race.
Then there is Emilia Brodie as Otter, Kenji Watanabe as Rabbit and Richard Mark as Mr Fox who are good as their respected characters but brilliant as the tour de force of music that is ever present throughout the play. The music seems to guide you effortlessly and how they manage to play their instruments while chasing Mr Toad and the others over the stage is anyone’s guess. So I will mention Christopher Madin the musical director and composer for his wonderful music but wild-wooders you get my standing ovation for not only acting superbly but for your great musical ability that is played on the run so to speak.
Overall I will give you nine out of ten as I don’t want any of you to rest on your laurels but I will say it’s one of the most enjoyable experiences that I will always remember fondly.
By Luke Winterburn
Tickets available here
Find out more about Wind in The Willows here beyondthewildwood.com