Monday 30 August 2010

Sunday Limetree Festival

Eve and I clambered out of our tent, recharged the camera’s batteries courtesy of the security people and their hut at the entrance to the field, and made our way to the festival fields in search of breakfast and much needed cups of tea.

After a little reconnaissance and walk we found ourselves listening and thrilled by Ben Barker and the Bob Birch Trio’s funky soulful music on the Main Green Man Stage. Another walk to the ancient stone circle where we enjoyed the Urban Gypsies African dancing before returning to listen to the Gillyflowers.

Necessary sustenance was sort from the Tibetan Café van as well as the Hot Potato stall, well complimented by the lovely beer from the main bar area.

Refreshed we listened to the exciting Ska of the Bradford Natural Rhythm Band who opened their set with a passionate and courageous call for unity against the backdrop of the ‘fascist’ march through Bradford City that had occurred the day before. Energised rhythms and sparkling harmonies and melody had the festival crowd dancing and cheering and even an outbreak of cold wet windy weather could not dampen the partying.

Time for another cup of tea and so a walk up the hill to the Marvellous Tea Dance Company where the best of tea could be enjoyed in the daintiest of cups.

Invigorated once more we sought out bands we had listened to and did a spot of video interviewing (see below).

Blustery squalls and wetness of weather found us sheltering in the friendly warmth of the Queerinspace Marquee where Terri Shaltiel’s soulful jazz vocals soothed us against the weather.

Then back to the main stage where Ska band The Selector were driving the crowd wild with wonderful rhythms and harmonies.

A thrilling throng of movement greeted Chunky Butt Funky as the band spun into funky soul voice. Then a wonderful group of people from Leeds known as the Voices of The Day Choir joined in with uplifting delicious harmonies and you could sense the emotionally elevating effect on the dancing cheering festival audience. The mood quietened as the festival song ‘Underneath the Limetree’ was sung by Matthew Yates in haunting voice and acoustic guitar an almost melancholy poignancy held in the air. Then the Voices of the Day joined and wrapped a caring optimistic harmonising warmth around the melody and very contemporary lyrics. The mood once more brightened and Chunky Butt Funky along with the ‘Voices of the Day’ sang the festival out in anthemic glory.

The festival crowd cheered and cheered and strangers hugged each other and for a brief moment the crowd held together like one big family in a caring cuddle.

Limetree is a wonderful and special place.
Andrew Sugden
Beautiful beautiful music enjoy these film clips from the Limetree Finale

Saturday at Limetree Festival

The buzzword at the Limetree festival is Green. Limetree is set in a rolling landscape of hill and valley with fields of lush grass and wild flower meadows. Firstly though we had to find the place, eventually throwing aside the Google map which had hindered our progress towards Limetree we drove through a pretty village strangely named Grewelthorpe.

We had arrived and as we drove into the site the attendants scratched their heads; where should we pitch our tent and park the car. We were shown a spot in the overflow field which we thought had enough room and was flat enough but didn’t think that this might be an open invitation for the other five tents which surrounded us when we returned later. I was impressed with the dazzling array of sleeping quarters; tepees, ridge tents, campers, buses, vans. Yes it can be seen that the Limies are an unconventional bunch of festival goers and have an anything goes relaxed attitude to life.

We went for a wander and visited the Jason Rae stage. I was pleased and surprised to discover a band called Blackout Retrospective for whom this was their first real gig. I said surprised because they gave a solid performance, (see film interview and performance below). The crowd and I loved their rocky beats- they are new and vibrant. Dancers seemed impelled to move in a soft robotic action I think the word is techno. There was buzz and air of excitement around the Jason Rae tent and people were thirsty for more.
Looking round for refreshment of another kind the bar and food outlets nearby were varied and accessible. So much choice the Thai Yum Yum Tummy, Chicken Brassiere, burger bar and more and that was only the bottom field away from the main stage. These fields show a natural bowl which cradled many activities past and present.

The ancient stone circle was the site of tribal dance workshops where revellers had fun and learned a dance routine to fit all kinds of music. Once the workshop was finished the dancers spilled out in to the Jason Rae marquee and shook their toots to the funky beats of Aria Astrobeat Arkestra (see film clips below).
The atmosphere was a carnival delight, on stage horns blared, an organ excited into frenzy and beats which forced movement through the limbs. Aria Astrobeat Arkestra delivered a great performance and impressive solo’s which lifted the senses. Their jazz afro funk beats delighted the audience and received rapturous applause.
We then bounced from the Jason Rae stage past the drum workshop which was now pounding out beats. These followed us up the field the sound died out as we reached the top. Various stalls fringed the route towards the Green Man stage some nestled together forming a courtyard and invited people to take refreshments others offered goods for sale or activities for children. Most of the tents and stalls suffered the ravages of the wind. Strong gusts whipped up half empty cups and anything and everything that wasn’t held down. As we walked towards the big Green Man stage, the clear voices of a young band replaced the whoosh of the wind.

The Blind Hearts are a good looking band of young men. They played and sung with great clarity, each band member tantalised the audience with crisp sounds that wove and threaded through each other. Their rich tapestries of sounds are contemporary and have influences from the blues. After their set ended we eagerly set up an interview with the band. Finding a quiet place for us to talk is down to luck more than management. Even though the stage closed for a while after each band had finished playing other activities started up and secluded areas either had a generator bubbling away in the background or wind rustling through the trees and hedges. Fortunately the Blind Hearts were unaware of this and chatted easily (see film clips below).

As the evening started to draw in the Limetree took on a new look. We called for a cuppa at the Marvellous Tea Dance Co, a wooden hut decked out with charming cups and doilies. As we ordered under the candlelight Donna served the tea. She looked as pretty as a picture the pale light picked out her features just like a painting by Renoir. While we ate the delicious cakes and drank tea something stirred in the bushes. From the shadows emerged an eight foot high creature which glowed and made weird electronic noises. Excited children followed the creature as it passed by then stole away into the night.
Refreshed we returned to the Green Man stage where a great spectacle hit us. It was the Smoove and Turrel band with gorgeous big brash chunky music. What a combination where saxophone played riff after riff while the lead singer had a raunchy husky voice. They performed some favourites in a pleasing funky jazz style all of their own. The front of the stage was alive with people dancing, cheering and shrieking which blended with the wails from guitar and organ. Smoove and Turrel gave an outstanding performance, each instrument was vivid and like primary colours they contrasted yet complemented each other.

As we walked away orange yellow and green fluorescent batons shone out of the darkness and little and large, people spinning, creating patterns and light shows.

Near exhaustion the tent was now our much needed refuge. The forty winks that we promised ourselves and recharging the batteries were needed.

But just like the true professionals we are we dragged ourselves out of our warm tent and headed back to the main stage to listen to the James Taylor Quartet who played their hit music from the 70's television series ‘Starsky & Hutch’. They wowed the audience with slick rhythms each band member’s solo impressed and delighted. James on his wonderful Hammond Organ and as if we needed an added bonus James Taylor introduced us to Yvonne Yanney. Shimmering in a gold dress this delicate beauty graced the stage then she gave her all. Yvonne was a powerhouse her raunchy at times husky tones had the audience clapping and enjoying every moment.

Now we could head back to bed, thread our way through our neighbours tents and trip wire guy ropes and peacefully rest our heads brimful of beautiful music and rhythms that lullabied us to sleep.
Eve Winterburn

Saturday 28 August 2010

Colne Blues Festival- Friday

Colne Blues Festival so many bands and fringe venues, where to start? We headed for Leeds band Poor Boy who's blistering blues and soulful vocals opened the blues fringe and had the audience rocking at the Colne and Nelson Rugby Club Venue.
Next we hotfooted it to the International Stage at the packed to the brim Muni where an excited noisy audience were thrilled by Dr Feelgood's strutting presence, driving rhythm and evocative guitar.
We headed for the acoustic stage where first Lil' Ian Goodsman followed by Charlie White both gave raucously expressive performances to the delight of another fully packed interactive audience.
Back to the Main Stage to catch Nine Below Zero rocking the Muni to a frenzy with full on rhythmic blues, emotional guitar and fun presence.
Then down to the British Stage at the Leisure Centre where an excited loud and exuberant audience was dancing to the hot rhythms and soulful harmonica of the Junkhouse Dog Blues Band, rocking blues excitement continued to thrill with legendary blues singer Carey Bell and his band Atlanta Roots.
We finished the night back at the International Stage where Eddie and The Hot Rods iconic, influential and full on rhythm and blues fun finished the evening in style.
Andrew Sugden

Thursday 26 August 2010

Last Night at the Fringe- Claire Cameron hosts at the Well

Leeds Festival Fringe finale ended in style at the 'Well' on Wednesday with the Claire Cameron Band hosting a gorgeous night of music.
First up was the Melodicas New Reed reduced to just guitar and vocals, but who set the night up in style.
Then came the 'Moves' with funky soul, pulse quickening uplifting rhythms and harmonies and songs that had the 'Well's' audience clapping whooping and dancing.
Barnsley band Gaia were next with delicious sounds of epic psychedelia combined with anthemically vivacious rhythm and rock that made the heart smile and took emotions on a musically epic journey, enthusiastically cheered by an excited warm hearted audience.
Black Water were the penultimate band and they rocked the joint into a frenzy with frenetic beats, writhing rhythmic guitaring, dazzling guitar solos and strong vocals.
Claire Cameron and her band played out the Fringe with flamboyant flair.  Energetic, contemporay and unique, Claire's band had the audience writhing and clapping with pulse quickening rhythms combined with  delicious harmony and melody and a stunningly visual stage presence.
What a great night at the 'Well'  anybody who didn't go missed out! All of these bands are are worth going to see on their own merit-do we really have to wait a year for the next Leeds Fringe?
Andrew Sugden

Wednesday 25 August 2010

The Last Night of the Leeds Fringe 2010 25th August

Here we are on the last night of the inaugural Leeds Fringe. A fabulous week of blues, rock, punk and everything in between. We arrived at the Carpe Diem in time to get an interview with a band called The Sighting who hailed from Wakefield, consisting of Marc (vocals), Carl (bass), Dave (lead guitar), Lee (piano/keyboard) and Mick the drummer.Their music has many influences shared by all the band. Since winning the Leeds Radio Aire "Battle of the Bands" in 2009 they have supported McFly and played at  Party in the Park. Their debut album "Running for Something" is already available from their website, itunes or myspace and they are now working on their second one.
The Jawline of Julianne Moore, after a hectic drive from Scarborough, arrived and went straight on stage and did their spot. A very energetic combo band playing innovative music which was much appreciated by their audience.

Before we had to leave Carpe Diem to visit another venue we were fortunate enough to catch the Huddersfield band Audit Control. These are a five-piece band who from the first note had the packed audience clapping and cheering.

From the Carpe Diem we went across town to the New Conservatory for their final night and their line-up included Faceless Bassist who were asked to play by Little Elvis at short notice. Bryn came hot foot  from Cornwall today to join Yeli who played the bass guitar and sang. Sebastian John played piano. This group was followed by Ryan Mitchell-Smith who sang an unusual selection of songs and played acoustic guitar until his rendition of Amazing Grace sang unaccompanied with passion and power.
Finally, bringing the week to an end, we had the extremely talented Danny Gruff who lives in Wrexham, North Wales. Danny sang mostly his own works interspersed with humorous banter rounding off this very precocious  infant fringe. Long may it continue.
Denis Heaton YGG

Sunday 22 August 2010

Leeds Fringe 2010 Sunday 22nd August 2010

 Along with the rest of The Yorkshire Gig Guide I attended the blues experience at the New Conservatory where we were made very welcome by John McCabe who looked after us all evening. We were then in for  an evening spent listening to superb musicians. Firstly a grand mix of blues and storytelling by Chris Martin who was on fine form tonight, enthralling the audience from start to finish. His tale about his guitar "not called Kevin" caused much hilarity. Any time he is playing somewhere near you go and enjoy!
Next up was Dac Chamley. He entertained us for forty five minuets of slide guitar, foot-tapping rhythms and great songs, engaging with his audience in a relaxed and easy manner. (Well worth a night out)  He was joined on stage by Chris Martin for his final 2 numbers and this was also justifiably well received by the audience.
The final act was the very talented Philip Cockerham who played thought-provoking songs about modern society, popular songs coupled with much humour. He introduced this reporter to a new musical instrument played with the feet called a "stomp box". This had the dual advantage of raising him an extra three inches from the floor. Yet another act not to be missed!
As we were getting ready to leave, Sammy Lee along with Aidan and some other friends took to the stage and did an impromptu spot. All in all a splendid evening was had by The Yorkshire Gig Guide (and the rest of the audience)
Hope to see you at one of the participating venues
Denis Heaton

Thursday 19 August 2010

Leeds Fringe 2010

Welcome to the first Leeds Fringe Festival. Tonight we experienced some of the enthusiastic local talent at the Carpe Diem. We were given a warm welcome by organisers Mickey Thompson (in charge), Michelle (from the Yorkshire Music Collective) and Nick Phelps (Phoenix Radio).
First up The Spills. If you like your music loud, heavy and raw then this is the band for you. They had the crowd jumping and dancing along to their sound.
Time to have a quick drink served by the friendly staff of the Carpe Diem before vocalist with a sense of humour Mi Mye who entertained us with his stories, songs and violin.
The next band hails from Wakefield who were the winners of the Future Sounds Competition which means they will be playing at both the Leeds and Reading Festivals. These are the Runaround Kids - full on, in your face hard rock music which shook the building and had the audience demanding more.
Leeds has not had a Fringe Festival previously and Reading has had one for the past five years so Mickey Thompson decided that this needed to change. It would be a free festival and any money made would go to Martin House Children's  Hospice at Boston Spa. Any donations can be sent to There is also a 15 track CD available from the same web-site with each track donated by a different band appearing at The Fringe to support the cause.
The Festival is on all week (19th -25th August) in and around Leeds. Come and have fun and music and support this great cause. To find all the events check out The Leeds Festival Fringe at
Denis Heaton YGG

Thursday 12 August 2010

Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival - Day three

Up and about on a clear and sunny morning after a good nights rest. This camping lark is starting to grow on me. All around, other campers making breakfast, enjoying the early peace and sipping tea. Andrew (editor) took himself off to the empty beer tent and began putting together his article leaving us to break camp (tent down quicker than it went up). New experience for me - outdoor shaving, causing much amusement for Alison.
Soon we were all ready and the four of us set off to join the many people  already settling down in the grounds. Had lunch. Burgers in the food hall - very nice too. Andrew went over to the Great Hall and covered Ben Bettie and the Jazz Age. Rejoining us later, the main stage began with the Rob Law Trio, setting us up for the acts following. Next we had the fabulous Clare Teal. A thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half's entertainment of songs and amusing anecdotes around her recent Scottish tour. Omar Puente and Robert Mitchell hugely enthralled the crowd with multirhythmic, original sounds.
Sadly we arrived at the final act for this festival. This was performed by our host, Simon Cunliffe-Lister along with the event organiser Saffron Byas and accompanied by the Rob Law Trio. Boy did they send us off in style! As the grounds slowly emptied we four had a late tea courtesy of Green Saffron. We reflected on the past three days as we watched the main stage being pulled down and the camp-site becoming almost deserted - one or two campers staying till tomorrow. On behalf of Yorkshire Gig Guide fare well until next year.
Denis Heaton

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Eating out at the Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues Festival

Not arriving at the Festival until after 6.30pm and needing to set up the tent (rain imminent and only managed before it began due to help from Kai and his Dad - many thanks) we had taken our own food which we managed to eat after the late night music session in the beer tent at around midnight.
Saturday however opened our eyes to new culinary delights. In the morning the air was full of the smell of cooking bacon as the Hall staff - manning an outdoor kitchen - produced wonderful sandwiches with which to start the day. They then spent the rest of the day cooking hot pork rolls with apple sauce, the tastiest burgers from local Aberdeen Angus cattle and a variety of salads (much of which came from the Hall's walled kitchen garden) to complete the meal.
Opposite the Hall stand was the kitchen of  Green Saffron. This catering company had travelled from Southern Ireland to provide Indian cuisine which was second to none. Using fresh herbs and spices along with equally fresh meat and vegetables, they created edible works of art to rival the music to which we were being treated. Dishes who's names make the mouth water - Tamil style chicken dadagam, Kashmiri lamb rogan josh and the vegetarian Keralean red lentil dal all served with aged basmati rice and banana riata and salad. Even breakfast had an exotic twist with porridge with vanilla and apricots infused with star anise, spiced granola with mango lassi or bread and jam when the bread is cooked on site in wood-fired ovens.
All together the smells from the cooking area floated across the lawns awakening the senses with anticipation.
Liquid refreshment was to be found in the tea tent which served tea and coffee all day and very tasty cakes which ensured a very civilized afternoon teas at the appropriate time. The beer tent was open until midnight providing refreshment with the late night entertainment.
Most people go to a music festival for the music but if Burton Agnes continues to encourage food like we have had this weekend, then it will have people attending especially for the food.
A very satisfied corespondent
Alison Elgie-Heaton

Monday 9 August 2010

Day two Burton Agnes Jazz & Blues Festival. Morning to all our readers.

Woken up by a lot of talking and movement around our tent then the sound of a car driving away, a glance at my watch told me it was 4-30am .

More muttering from me as I rolled over and went back to sleep unaware my wife Alison had swept out of the tent and run off!. Roused much later at 9-15ish only to find that our camera crew (Alison) had hot footed it back to Leeds throwing a bit of consternation and  not least panic into the day. Andrew (our editor) who had risen was at a loss due to this turn of events. Still we have a job to do so after breakfast (made by Eve) we set about our revised itinerary. Whilst Eve was busy around our pitch Andrew and I had a stroll through Burton Agnes's magnificent grounds which was coming slowly to life. People all ready setting out their seats, blankets and picnics in anticipation of an afternoons entertainment.

Text message from Alison (camera crew) saying our youngest daughter had gone into labour - hence the dash back  home, followed by instructions on how to use her treasured camera. A quick dash back to base and run through said directions then we three were ready for a busy schedule.

Eve and Andrew would be taking interviews whilst I had some how become cameraman (God help us). Just so you know that today's events were taking place in different venues, main stage in the beautiful lawns with fountains gently flowing in the large fish pond,whilst in the great hall a series of three performances starting at 12 noon which this intrepid trio had to cover. Thankfully timings at both venues meant it could just be done.

Firstly we covered Ben Beattie and the Jazz Age playing in the Great Hall, a sumptuous setting surrounded with oak panelling, majestic fireplace (Adams!), portraits hung all around. What better place to hear classic jazz.

Next stop main stage in time for Zezo Olimpio Trio who soon had the festival throng swaying and foot tapping as Bossa-Novas swirled around the grounds. Zezo playing his vintage Fender-Rhodes piano entertained us with his own compositions which brought a hearty response from the audience.

Back we go to the Great Hall where RevRay and Jenny Bray who run the East Yorkshire jazz evenings and courses had gathered students  and  friends for our listening pleasure. An extremely talented group of musicians and singers.

Thirsty work this, so snatched drink of tea plus cake. Very welcome it was too. Next on the agenda the amazing Anita Wardell who's voice is an instrument of its own. During her performance a text from Alison informing  us that we have a new granddaughter weighing in at 6lb 11 oz.(that's 8 now). Great Hall again last act today Kate and Manny taking us on a musical nostalgic tour of the greats Gershwin through to Sinatra.

Now we can relax a bit. Good job too. Not being used to toting a camera about my arms are aching. Still needs must. Rest of the action will be on the main stage so no dashing about (till to-morrow). Up on stage for the next hour and half the legendary Skip McDonald better known as Little Axe we settled down whilst his raucous blues rolled over the grounds. Alison rejoined us at last so I hand over the camera - with a sigh of relief I must add. Al Wood Big Band took over for the next two hours with guest vocalist Saffron Byass (one of the festival organisers)

This blog seems to be turning into an essay. Bear with us, there is so much going on I don't want you to feel left out. Last act on main stage a trombonist with a unique versatility for this underrated instrument. The incredible Dennis Rollins. Catch him if he's playing near you - well worth seeing.

After all this we still had the late night session in the beer tent. First up storyteller, musician and writer Miles Cain, followed by Helen Turner and Sharon Winfield collectively know as Two. Finally rounding up this days events Bandiqui singing into the late hours with modern songs.

Well dear readers it's been a long day. So much going on and not forgetting our new arrival Analise Nicola.

Did I mention the rain? No! Well it did, yet no one left. Instead in true festival style out came the brolly's. The tent looms so good night all.

   Denis Heaton YGG          

Sunday 8 August 2010

Burton Agnes Jazz & Blues Festival-Denis's Diary

Day one arrived on site at 6-30pm  this my first experience camping so not sure how to pitch tent (learning something already!)

Read the instructions, hang around looking lost with all the bits lying about, scratch head,  mutter a lot, then seasoned campers came and in a very short time it was up. (Thanks Kai  and your Dad). All the time we were getting into and helped out of this tuck we were being serenaded by Five Pieces of Silver who were playing the great Horace Silver 60's Blue Tone music.

Andrew and Eve arrived and managed to erect their tent in 2 minutes and then we all went to into the Festival itself. This was a magnificent setting in the grounds of Burton Agnes Hall where we were entertained by  Base Man Family who are a 12 piece band who played until 10pm. We thoroughly enjoyed their music which set the scene for the late night tent. 

This is the first year that Burton Agnes have had late night entertainment after the main event. This proved to be a great success and most of the visitors stayed until the end of the session. We were entertained on this first night by Holly Tamer, Bandiqui and the Alligators who woke us up before we went to bed. All the above gave us interviews which will be posted on the YGG later.

Once we were back at base camp we all enjoyed a very late tea and then to bed. If I survive the night in this tent there will be more tomorrow.
Good night
Denis Heaton

Monday 2 August 2010

"I just had to share with you how much my friends and I enjoyed ‘This Weeks Scandal’ a 3 piece pop punk band from Leeds".

Dear Yorkshire Gig Guide this is my first review but I just had to share with you how much my friends and I enjoyed ‘This Weeks Scandal’ a 3 piece pop punk band from Leeds.
I attended the Cockpit with a group of friends, a wonderful live music venue in the heart of Leeds, on the last day of August to watch up and coming brilliant pop punk band ‘This Weeks Scandal’ launching their new EP.
They entertained and thrilled the crowded room with Chris’s great vocals and bass playing, Richard’s frenetic guitaring and vocals, and Arron’s rhythmic drumming in a half hour collection of musical boasting, bouncy riffs and sing along choruses.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed their music as was proved by everyone’s energetic dancing maximum participation and shrieks of fun!
‘This Weeks Scandal’ was the headline band and as their last song came to its end the audience was reluctant to let them leave screaming for more; A strong following of fans already prove, they will go far.
Sadly Redemption and Girl Kills Boy, who were billed to play didn't but this in no way spoiled the fun of the night.
Asia Elizabeth Pickup,
Hope this is okay. 

Sunday 1 August 2010

Review of “The Wind in The Willows” York Theatre Royal: 22nd July – 21st August 2010.

The experience begins the minute you walk through the main door of the Theatre Royal, and you realise that this is far more than a summer play – it’s an experience. The theatre interior has been magically transformed, by designers Lydia Denno and Catherine Chapman, with incredible imagination, and huge effort, setting the scene for a dazzling production. 

The auditorium itself is adapted to theatre-in-the round: The stage is raised to circle level and seating is set up against the back wall.  So – no stage or curtains – you feel part of the action, and throughout the production, you can see the delighted faces of the audience opposite.  As people take their seats surrounding the wonderful set of the woodland and Toad Hall, there is a sense of mounting excitement as the woodland animals chat and mingle with the audience, creating a unique but unintimidating atmosphere of involvement.

The sumptuous lighting design by Richard G. Jones allows us to see and feel the changing seasons in the wood, and it sets the moods and themes of the play.  At times, it almost gives the feeling of watching a Chekhov play. The direction by Damien Cruden and Katie Posner, is imaginative and inspired – the pace alternates between fast, furious and athletic, and at times, gentle and thoughtful.  The use of props is so imaginative and funny that it had the audience laughing out loud every time a new prop came on. The costumes by Linda Denno and Catherine Chapman are delightful - the animals are instantly recognisable but we can see their faces and expressions –I particularly liked Mole’s huge padded bottom, Toad’s huge tummy, and the costumes of the little animals, played wonderfully by the children of the Young People’s Company.

The story sticks fairly closely to Kenneth Grahame’s gentle and funny childrens’ book, but it won’t matter if you haven’t read it, as the adaptation by Mike Kenny is inspired, hilarious and true to the feel of the book.  I won’t spoil the story for you by telling you the details of the plot. The first half of the play is spent by the riverbank with Mole, touchingly played by Robert Pickavance, and the hilarious and endearing Ratty, played by Jonathan Race.   In the first half, here is a stunning musical surprise.  The music, by Christopher Madin, throughout the production, is terrific – merging seamlessly with the action, and played live by the dashing and inscrutable Kenji Wantabe (Rabbit), the very talented Richard Mark (Fox) and the engaging and versatile Emilia Brodie (Otter).  In the second half, we have the hilarious adventures of the ebullient Mr Toad (played with great humour and flair by the irrepressible Martin Barrass).  The athleticism by the actors is quite staggering throughout, as in the fight scene (directed by Jonathan Jaynes).  The finale is marvellous.

The actors are all fantastic – Michael Lambourne’s weasel is hilarious, and badger, played by Sarah Parks, is captivating.  This cast of multi-talented actors and musicians, and the whole supporting cast, tell us the story beautifully: The whole experience is delightful, surprising, imaginative and hilarious.

As we leave the theatre, we almost feel as if all the characters will still be there in the wood. There is a feel in this production of the resilience of nature and the transience of the efforts of human beings. As Badger said:

"People come - they stay for a while, they flourish, they build, and they go. It is their way. But we remain… We are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be."

Take your children, or your parents, or yourself, and go and see this production.  You won’t ever forget it.

Review by Lynn Cotton 

Tickets available here
Find out more about Wind in The Willows here