The Wind in the Willows is one of those classic stories we all read as kids so when it was announced, The Mayflower in Southampton would be one of the theatres for its world premiere to the stage I was a little more than excited. Southampton Bloggers have recently teamed up with The Mayflower* to bring shows and productions to a wider audience through the power of blogging and it's a collaboration I'm really looking forward to. Wind in the Willows was our first collaboration and I have the low down on the show, the evening and what to look forward to when it hits the London Palladium in 2017.
Based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame, Wind in the Willows has been brought to life on stage by Jamie Hendry and Julian Fellowes with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Rufus Hound is the well known Toad alongside David Birrell as Badger, Fra Fee as Mole, Thomas Howes as Ratty, Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs.Otter.
Ratty, Badger and Mole join the exuberant Toad and embark on a series of adventures and misadventures caused by his insatiable need for speed! Imprisoned for theft and with his existence under threat from the inhabitants of the Wild Wood, Toad must attempt a daring escape to defend Toad Hall. I believed the story would be very much aimed at families and although it is, I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it with more laugh out loud moments than I expected. There was a real comedy feel to it and I feel that all ages would really appreciate this brought to stage classic.
Rufus Hound was excellent as Toad and it was great to watch Thomas Howes on stage as I loved him in Downton Abbey. I was fangirling inside but I'm hoping I managed to keep my cool in front of everyone. One of my favourite parts were the hedgehogs. A family of four, terrified of the road, speed and cars but with the cutest two little hedgehogs with the most angelic voices. The songs throughout the show were sang beautifully alongside the orchestra and they really made you want to move along with them.
The stage design was incredible. Hats off to the designer because I completely forgot I was watching a show on stage and was transported into the land of Wind in the Willows. From wispy willows along the river bed to Toad's mansion and Badger's book filled home to the most impressive steam train, there was not a single flaw and it was brought to life rather magically. I didn't want it to end.
The Wind in the Willows is showing at The Mayflower until 20th November before it moves on to the London Palladium in June to September 2017. You really must get tickets for the show as you will not regret it. It makes the best feel good evening with loved ones, friends and family. I can't wait to book more shows at The Mayflower as I already have my eye on The Commitments in February.
Do you remember the story of Wind in the Willows?
*Complimentary tickets and all photos provided by The Mayflower Theatre.