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Wind in the Willows
Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds Young Company
An enthusiastic, inquisitive Mole opens the show, keen to enjoy a trip on Rat’s boat which is creatively made by two of the young cast. Rat describes it as “the only way to travel” but there is a world beyond the heath, common and hedgerow we are told. An extended cast of rabbits, otters, squirrels, conniving weasels and stoats add to this delightful production.
There are gags – “hedgehogs are great on the road” – which only the adults seemed to understand.
Albert, the grumpy, down in the mouth, tired horse (Mia Hoy) is excellent and raises some laughs when he says how fed up he is with carrots and would like some Toad in the Hole instead.
The flamboyant, larger-than-life and lazy Toad is expertly played by Alfred Dry who soon gets tired of any sort of transport which he ruins. He soon finds his horse and cart too slow and yearns for a noisy motorcar which lands him in hot water. The troupe of Rat, Mole and wise old Badger vow to rescue him and make him a reformed character.
The vehicles are inventively made by the Young Company who bop and sway with hoops for wheels and disperse when they crash.
Troublesome Toad insults a minute magistrate in an overly large wig (Monty Germeney) who seems open to bribery with the promise of devilled kidneys for breakfast.
It’s Christmas at the end with the Field Mice singing a beautiful rendition of “In the Bleak Midwinter” round at Mole’s.
This highly enjoyable adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale is a production to be proud of, particularly as the youngest member of the cast is a mere seven years old.