Kenneth Grahame’s wonderful story of The Wind in the Willows is a family favourite, combine that with the glorious wit of Alan Bennett and you have a delightful adaptation of a classic. Trinity Players brought to life this story in all it’s characterful glory, keeping true to the tale, but with a twist.
From the outset it was clear the sheer time and effort put into this production. Every single moment had been meticulously thought through and it was obvious that director, Jennifer Mears, had a clear vision for how she wanted to present this production. The stage team had worked tirelessly to create the wonderful set, which was more than just a backdrop to the action, it was part of the show.
In Mears's programme note she mentions the power of books on the imagination and this was cleverly illustrated through the use of torn book pages covering the entire set, with some simple wooden boxes with toy characters (from the story) dotted around.
Not only that, the audience were taken on a journey into their own imagination with this show. There was no necessity to have a gypsy wagon or a motor car, instead just pile up some boxes and get a character to hold a steering wheel. And there were some clever touches with the moving road signs and spotlit mice.
Onto the acting: Matthew Cotter’s Rat was utterly brilliant, with a quietly endearing Sasha Marsh as Mole, they complemented each other well.
There was also some fantastic character performances from Shirley Gladwin as Badger, the hilarious Matthew Collins as the overworked horse, Albert and Ross Gibley as Norman.
Strong multi-rolling support came from Gemma Parton, with accent swaps to boot, Kath Hollis as Otter, Squirrel and Clerk and Ann Dempsey was fantastically comical as the blundering magistrate.
It was clear that Leigh-Ann James relished in playing the villainous Chief Weasel and leading the show from the front was the superb Dan Holyhead as Toad. He captured the very essence of his character, with great audience interaction and some well executed slapstick comedy.
Trinity Players have delivered a beautifully imaginative production of a classic, congratulations to all involved.
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