Tuesday, 7 January 2014

'The Wind in the Willows' Duchess Theatre *****

'The Wind in the Willows' has been a children's favourite since it first published in 1908 and the very first West End transfer from the Royal Opera House is one to be seen. This adaptation is centred around the original author Kenneth Graham's  intriguing metaphor of an attic and the use of discarded furniture fabrics involved close to portray the fantasy world of the riverbanks and woods were an interesting decision to make. The show is highly dance based and is told through exceptional narration by the ever popular and incredibly engaging Tony Robinson and indicates that the production does not need hardly any spoken dialect whatsoever. The entire dance cast were beyond mystical and extraordinary. Chris Penfold captures an elegant flow of diligence of Toad and his delivery in his dance excerpts were lovely to see. The performances by Will Kemp and Clemmie Sveaas as Ratty and Mole provide the romanticism of the story and the swashbuckling moves really suggest the emotional poignancy of the whole performance. Ewan Wardrop conveys the rock 'n' roll feel of the Chief Weasel was brilliantly thought of and his dance presence with nothing more than spectacular. The other members of the company were phenomenal and makes you feel that this production and performance fully deserve a place on a West End stage. What can I say about Will Tuckett's direction and choreography? It is simply beautiful and encapsulates a wide range of audiences as 'The Wind in the Willows has been a part of British childhood that over one hundred years. This show is blissfully moving and leaves you feeling good once you leave the Duchess Theatre.  He has done a brilliant job here. The Quay Brothers' set design was outstanding and most definitely captures the rugged atmosphere of Graham's fantasy story. The. textures of the scenic material were greatly thought of and makes you value the time taken to rehearse and construct a show that reverts you back to your childhood. Personally I found the production to be wonderful in all areas.

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