After great acclaim for its performances in Plymouth, Manchester, and Southampton last autumn, this brand new musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s iconic The Wind in the Willows will be making its way to the London Palladium Theatre in June of this year. I was lucky enough to head to the press event for this wonderful show on the stage of the Palladium itself (which I got very excited about).
With a book written by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Half a Sixpence) and a delightful score featuring a range of genres by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins, Half a Sixpence), the production tells the tale of Mr Toad, whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang on sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape which leads to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.
Rufus Hound as Mr Toad, and Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel performed a pair of songs for us, and it is clear how much joy and love is being pumped into this production. Further casting is to be announced, but it is clear from just seeing a snippet how wonderful this show will be.
It’s a show aimed at all of the family, and celebrates friendship, says producer Jamie Hendry, which doesn’t seem to be as celebrated on the stage as much as romantic relationships.
The set pieces – such as Toad’s car and caravan – filled the stage and are beautifully deigned, as are the costumes which hint at animalistic qualities without dehumanising the actors. It’s a show whose look is unforgettable.
The Wind in the Willows plays at the London Palladium with previews from June 17, with the opening performance on the 29th. Booking is open until the 9th of September, and can be booked through the website or by phoning 0844 874 0665.