The Wind in the Willows (tour – Haverhill)
Elizabeth Glass’ costumes are bright with a nice blend of Edwardian smartness and the downright brash. There’s no attempt to anthropomorphise the characters, though their natures are subtly suggested through accessories, such as Mole thick-rimmed spectacles and Toad’s embonpoint. Boxes and rostra are moved around to become boats, caravans, cars and anything else the action requires.
Mr Toad is the character who dominates the action, and Owen Pugh has great fun with him and his self-centred ditty. The weasels take the shape of Milly Finch as the matriarch, a Cockney entrepreneuse with a touch of Fagin and a dash of Eliza Doolittle mixed in. Kayleigh Gage is her Weaseline daughter, all swinging blonde plaits with a nice line in cartwheels as well as mischief.
[Alex Wadham’s Ratty sports theproper boating gear and has an engaging duet “Friendship” with Steve Wickenden’s Mole, gifted with a slightly Midlands twang as well as an immaculate tail-coat in brightest blue. James Franklin’s Badger is an old colonial military type, drilling his somewhat Dad’s Army troop as they set off into the Wild Wood to take back Toad Hall, that commodious gentleman’s residence temporarily suffering musteline squatting.