MUSICAL REVIEW: Wind in the Willows ★★★★

Wind in the Willows
London Palladium
Monday 26th June 2017

From the musical geniuses that brought us Mary Poppins and Half a Sixpence, two personal favourite productions of mine, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have again teamed up with Julian Fellowes on Book to bring to life the adventures of Ratty, Mole, Toad, Badger, and all their nature friends in the nostalgic minds that many of the audience's memories will treasure from Kenneth Grahame's creations.

Rufus Hound would usually play the title role of Mr. Toad in this production, but due to ill health, Chris Aukett took over the role in this evening's performance, and to anyone who didn't know Auckett was the understudy, you would be completely surprised as he puts in a phenomenal performance as the reptilian and considering this performance was the first time in this run that he has taken over the role, he did a fantastic job with so much energy and passion to the character. For those audience members who get the honor of watching Auckett in the role, you are in for a real treat, as his commitment to the show is like nothing I've seen in these circumstances!

The music in this production is really something special that I haven't heard as much in recent musicals; there is a real sense of belonging when it comes to the characteristics of those performing the numbers; 'The Hedgehog's Nightmare’ was a hysterical favourite amongst the whole auditorium, as well as myself, due to how brilliantly it featured the prickly animals, and made me really happy that I saw this production before the cast recording was released, as it meant my knowledge of the musical walking in this evening was very limited and I was ready to be amazed, and furthermore I certainly was due to other brilliant songs such as 'We’re The Wild Wooders’, 'The Amazing Mr Toad’, and 'We're Taking Over The Hall'.

Performing alongside Auckett as the marvelous Mr.Toad, the other cast and ensemble really put in the perfect performance; from Simon Lipkin’s hilarious comedy timing as Rat, Craig Mather's innocence of Mole, Denise Welch's sensitive and caring nature as Mrs Otter, Neil McDermott's sinister portrayal of Chief Weasel, and finally Gary Wilmot’s stern but lovable Badger. It must be so comforting from the creatives point of view to know when they have a cast with so much chemistry of this stage, and this production really has it all and is such a delight to see everyone on stage having so much fun!

Overall, Wind in The Willows at The London Palladium is a phenomenal piece of musical theatre; from the cast, set, songs and beautiful orchestra, there is something for everyone in this production, no matter what age you are!


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