Wind in the Willows blows into Abbey Theatre

PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 December 2016

Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows

Archant

A host of woodland creatures of all ages will be taking to the stage this Christmas in the Abbey Theatre’s production of The Wind in the Willows.

Wind in the WillowsWind in the Willows

And for Christmas show veteran Tony Bradburn, who played Mr Toad in the Company of Ten’s 2003 version of The Wind in the Willows, it is a return to the stage - but this time as Badger.

He said: “Last time I was entranced by Badger, who is a strong but gentle character, rudely woken from his winter hibernation. He goes on to take control of the chaos Toad has created, to save Toad both from danger, and from himself.”

Along the way, the animals’ adventures involve several modes of transport including a car and a train.

Director Katherine Barry explained: “In 2003 we purchased them from another drama company, and afterwards we sold them on. This time that was not possible, so our fearless construction team agreed to make them all.”

Wind in the WillowsWind in the Willows

Stage manager Cliff Stratford admits he and his team found the set building an interesting challenge. “At first glance it seemed simple. A woodland scene with hills in the distance. Yes, there is a river at the front of the stage, but we have built those before, notably in the previous production of The Wind in the Willows.

“Then we read the script in detail and discovered that Ratty’s boat has to float on the river, with two passengers. A bit more tricky. Plus there are separate homes for Mole, Ratty and Badger. Add in a caravan, a barge, a train and of course, Toad’s car, and you have a really complicated show on your hands.”

Katherine added: “Their ingenuity is outstanding. For instance, Toad’s car used to be a second-hand mobility scooter. By comparison, the clothes and make-up are relatively simple, although there are a lot of them. As usual, the redoubtable costume department have come up trumps. Country attire for all, with ears, tails and whiskers the must-have accessories of the season.”

The production opens tomorrow night (16) and runs until Friday, December 30. Information on erformance times and tickets can be obtained from here or call the box office on 01727 857861.


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