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The Wind in the Willows review at Oldham Coliseum

Alan Bennett’s delightful stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic story, which has enchanted audiences of both adults and children in London, is given a completely different look at the Oldham Coliseum by designer Alison Heffernan.

In Kevin Shaw’s sparkling production, the comparatively small stage is magically transformed from a river into a road, then a canal and a railway, with all the relevant vehicles, as well as the homes of all our favourite animals.

From stately Toad Hall to Badger’s underground, book-lined library, the audience, comprised of a wide age range, was not disappointed once with Heffernan’s realisation of our own imagined riverbank with its rather eccentric inhabitants.

The superb cast, some of whom play six or seven roles, as well as several musical instruments, are exceptional and the live music, intricately woven throughout, is an additional bonus.

In a fine example of ensemble playing, Russell Dixon is the kindly though censorious Badger and Martin Reeve is splendid as the meticulous, though well-meaning Ratty while Rob Parry is an extremely lovable Mole. There is also an extraordinary performance from Dale Superville who, in a whirl of cleverly choreographed leaps and bounds, convinces the audience that he is the bombastic, although somehow endearing, Mr Toad.

First class support from the rest of the cast ensured that this entire production is a joy. In fact this charming tale is a delight from start to finish.

Production Information

Oldham Coliseum, May 20-June 11

Author
Kenneth Grahame adapted by Alan Bennett.
Director
Kevin Shaw
Producer
Oldham Coliseum
Cast includes
Russell Dixon, Rob Parry, Martin Reeves
Running time
2hrs 20mins