A new stage adaptation of the classic tale of Wind in the Willows is being staged at the Burgess Hall, St Ives, by the resident company Centre Players.
Director Collette Parker says the production has all the charm and joy of the original tale infused with contemporary, fun and highly theatrical touches.
“All of the action takes place in Toad Hall, which has long since been deserted, furniture covered in dust sheets, with the action beginning just as the dilapidated property is being sold by the Chief Weasel in the guise of an estate agent.
“While the weasel is conducting an auction, a burrowing sound is heard and from under the sheets the heads of the central characters begin to pop up as if awaking from a long hibernation.”
The performers are both actors and storytellers as they tell the story of the famous riverside friends, Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger. The ensemble cast treble up in some cases playing all of the other larger-than-life characters, horse, judge, gaoler’s daughter, washerwoman, train driver and bargee.
They tell their story using the furniture around them so that a bed for instance becomes a boat, and a wheelbarrow and table become a gypsy caravan. The characters use the discarded furniture and props around them to bring their story to life.
There’s moley, short-sighted and shy who grows in confidence during the life of the play, aided by the kind, sociable Ratty, a real gentleman. Together with their friend, the cautious and wise Badger, gruff on the outside but kind and benevolent on the inside, they try to keep the larger than life, excitable, loud force of nature that is Toad on the straight and narrow.
Join the well-loved characters on their excursion into the land of fantasy and make believe in this delightful tale for all the family.
Wind in the Willows, runs at the Burgess Hall from April 11 to 13, with a matinee and evening performance on the 13th. Tickets cost £12 adults, £8 under-16s. Telephone: 01480 388111, or book on line www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/301070.