The Wind in the Willows

CAROLINE CULOT Norwich Playhouse

CAROLINE CULOT

Norwich Playhouse

Kenneth Grahame's children's tale about Toad, Rat, Badger and Mole was brought to life for a new generation of youngsters yesterday by the hugely talented Cambridge Touring Theatre company.

The book was never one of my favourites and I have seen many overlong productions of it that have done little to change my opinion, but yesterday's adaptation was original, humorous and I actually enjoyed it. So well done!

If you've seen this company before, you will know they are a small group of talented young performers who aim to bring accessible theatre to the region.

Yesterday's production took the essence of Grahame's tale and adapted it with some jaunty new songs, humour and very skilfully involved the audience.

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It taught us about theatre and threw in a bit of a moral about friendship too - not bad in just over an hour and a half!

I applaud the cast who with hardly any props, just a piano for music and no mikes really managed to pull it off.

Barry Evans made his Ratty into a kind of Hugh Laurie and was perfect in that role and Milly Finch was hilarious as a very Norfolk Mavis, as well as playing the piano.

My only criticism would be that the performance could have been a bit snappier - the cast just needed to pick up the pace a bit. And although financing may be tight, I felt some of the costumes to be lacking. Please ditch the unflattering baggy black trousers and grubby trainers!

t The Wind in the Willows is calling at Denver Windmill, near Downham Market, and Oxburgh Hall, near King's Lynn, on Saturday July 14 and at Holkham Hall on Sunday July 15. Visit www.cambridgetouringtheatre.co.uk for details.

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