In the Willows Review

Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford – until 8 June 2019

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley


With such an award-winning and talented cast, writer and director Poppy Burton-Morgan could not fail. The result is a high energy, roller coaster ride, through a musical, modern twist on the classic tale of The Wind in The Willows. We have the additional back story for Mole (Victoria Boyce) which gives the storyline pace and depth.

The individual characters are distinctive and each one is important to the story. The strong and dependable presence of Badger (Clive Rowe) as the school teacher, earthed the production, whilst Toad (Harry Jardine) is the troubled youth who has everything and nothing. The speed of Jardine’s rapping increases to an insane level as the story progresses. He brings chaos and humour and is a believable lovable rogue. Mole (Victoria Boyce) is his opposite, with a secret, troubled past and a soulful voice that reaches right into your heart. The cast is like a well-oiled wheel, performing as one, singing with one voice, dancing as one ensemble.

The Creative Team have to be commended for the way British Sign Language is an integral part of the performance. It adds a grace and flow to the movement of the cast. The use of posed shapes and styles in the production are a feast for the eyes. The cast move with such ease it belies how difficult the synchronicity of their dances is.

If you want a feel-good factor show for the whole family, this is it. The professionalism of the cast is an inspiration to any would-be actor of the future.