BWW Reviews: WIND IN THE WILLOWS, The Duchess Theatre, December 16 2013
If your Nightmare Before Christmas at this time of year is PANTO, fear not, Wind in the Willows at the Duchess is your Prince Charming of festive theatre.
This telling of Kenneth Grahame's children's classic is a Royal Opera House West End transfer and consequently brings its style and flair to a polished production.
Sir Tony Robinson is our narrator, spinning the tale of Mole (a sweetly naïve Clemmie Sveaas), Ratty (a vigorous Will Kemp), Badger (worldly-wise Christopher Akrill) and chums and their futile attempts to curtail the Christmas spirit of Toad (wonderfully played like a mischievous, not sinister, version of The Joker by Cris Penfold).
With the narrative interpreted by former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Robinson clearly relishes in the telling of this quintessential English story and highlights its moral of friendship gently and with good humour.
Will Tuckett's choreography is buoyant and makes wonderful use of the Quay Brothers' versatile staging and props. Toad's gaol scene was particularly inventive.
The puppets by Toby Olie (a former hind of Joey in the original War Horse) also delight, especially in the confrontation scenes in Toad Hall.
If you are looking for an excuse to avoid the Xmas telly offerings (not when Sherlock is on obviously) then Wind in the Willows really is a perfect evening of entertainment for all the family.
PS - make sure you go for a wander in the interval - you may just run into someone...
Until February 1st. Show is recommended for ages 5 and above.