Review: The Wind In The Willows at the New Vic Theatre *

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The Wind in the Willows is this year’s enchanting Christmas show at the New Vic Theatre, in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The much-loved children’s classic, by Kenneth Grahame, has been adapted for the theatre-in-the-round by the New Vic’s artistic director, Theresa Heskins, and is directed by Peter Leslie Wild. The Wind in the Willows features a cast of 11 actor-musicians as the characters of Grahame’s riverbank and Wild Wood.

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What we thought of the show

The New Vic’s festive productions are always a delight and make a refreshing change from the traditional pantomimes that are performed at theatres across the UK at this time of year.

Every year, the New Vic brings to life a timeless tale, creating a magical experience for audiences of all ages. Its previous seasonal offerings have included Treasure Island and The Snow Queen.

When we took our seats, we were instantly transported to the riverbank of Grahame’s book, thanks to the stunning set design. And the beauty, as ever, in any New Vic production is that the theatre-in-the-round setting brings the audience up-close to the action.

As the story moved along, we got to know the central characters of Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad, as we followed them on their adventure. And along the way we met various other creatures, some friendly, and others more cunning.

This is a tale of courage and friendship, with a dose of danger, too (which children and adults alike can revel in).

Plus, in between their lines, the cast took their shifts playing musical instruments (an impressive display of multi-tasking, in our opinion).

The original score, composed by Matt Baker, is a delight and fits perfectly with the story.

Also impressive were the show’s younger performers who added an extra element to this captivating show.

And when Fox suffered a mild prop malfunction, he ad-libbed to keep the show moving as he wrestled with a pesky picture frame.

We can thoroughly recommend this warm-hearted family show for a magical festive outing.

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CAST

Kieran Buckeridge – Fox

Matthew Burns – Horse/Jailer/Guard

Sophia Hatfield – Mrs Otter

Richard Keightley – Rat

Emma Manton – Badger

Alicia McKenzie – Mole

Anne-Marie Piazza – Landlady/Washerwoman

Andrew Roberts-Palmer – Magistrate/Train Driver

Robyn Sinclair – Maudie

Laura Soper – Portly

Rob Witcomb – Toad

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When is The Wind in the Willows being performed?

The show opened on 17 November 2018 and continues until 26 January 2019. The evening performances are at 7.30pm and matinees at 2.15pm, on selected days. For full details of performance dates and times, visit the New Vic Theatre’s website.

Where?

New Vic Theatre
Etruria Road
Newcastle-under-Lyme
Staffordshire
ST5 0JG

How much are the tickets?

Tickets range from £15.50 to £24.50. A family ticket is £68, and rates for concessions, groups and schools are available. Please note, a £1 per ticket transaction fee applies online.

How do I book tickets?

Visit the New Vic’s website: www.newvictheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01782 717962.

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About the New Vic Theatre

Founded in 1962, the New Vic is the producing theatre for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. With around eight major productions a year, its varied programme includes contemporary drama, new commissions, adaptations and classics. Recent productions have toured nationally and internationally, and have transferred to London and Manchester. The New Vic has developed extensive and award-winning community involvement. It works regionally, nationally and internationally through its education department and New Vic Borderlines, which aims to change the lives of the most disadvantaged members of the community. The New Vic is funded by Arts Council England, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

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Things to note: 

The New Vic welcomes all customers and is committed to providing access to the arts for all, which includes:

  • Free parking close to the theatre entrance for Blue Badge holders (reserve a space with the box office)
  • Automatic doors and level access into the foyer, ramped access to the auditorium on the ground floor and lift access to the first floor
  • Wheelchair spaces on both the ground and first floor
  • Disabled toilets on both levels
  • An induction loop system (not available for amplified performances and an infrared-assisted hearing system)
  • Baby-changing facilities
  • Assistance dogs are welcome and water will be provided (if you wish to take your dog into the auditorium, let the box office know when booking)
  • Sign language-interpreted, audio-described, captioned, relaxed and schools’ performances are available for The Wind in the Willows

 

By Colette Warbrook

 

* We were provided with press tickets in exchange for a review. All opinions are our own.

34 Comments

  1. Alexandra
    November 26, 2018 / 11:20 am

    One of my favourite stories of all time 🙂 I still have my Mum’s copy of the book from when she was in school. I would LOVE to see this 🙂

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 26, 2018 / 6:55 pm

      Glad to hear that Alexandra, how wonderful that you still have the same book as your mum! Priceless.

  2. November 26, 2018 / 1:16 pm

    Oh my gosh, that sounds so good! The Wind in the Willows was and still is one of my favorite books of all time! I’d love to see this stage rendition of it.

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 26, 2018 / 6:54 pm

      You would be thrilled Stacie and the character and set is absolutely gorgeous

  3. November 26, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    too bad I’m nowhere near Newcastle.. i love going to theatres and this sounds really good!

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 26, 2018 / 6:54 pm

      Yes it is a great show to head to Annick

  4. Monidipa Dutta
    November 26, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    I am nowhere near Newcastle. I wish I could be there, I love going to theatres.

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 26, 2018 / 6:53 pm

      Great to hear that Monidipa, yes a lot of people travel from London to see the shows at New Vic Theatre

  5. November 26, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    What a wonderful chance to watch a timeless classic come to life. I bet it was incredible.

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 26, 2018 / 9:45 pm

      Yes it certainly was Fiona, the whole family enjoyed it

  6. brittnienicole
    November 27, 2018 / 12:26 am

    I’ve never heard of this book or play, but it looks like a fun one. You got some great shots too!

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Thank you, this is a classic book and worth trying to look for one to have a read

  7. November 27, 2018 / 9:30 am

    I used to Love Wind in the Willows when I was young – such a great way to introduce the family to it

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Absolutely! Reading the book is one thing…seeing the show / actors in person is another

  8. November 27, 2018 / 10:20 am

    This looks like an amazing production. I have always wanted to attend a few but maybe when my kids are older we can have the opportunity.

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      This would be fab for young kids as well Amanda, as they are facinated by the lights, costumes and backdrop

  9. November 27, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    One of my favourite stories! I wish I had of known about this performance sooner! Would have definitely made the trip! It looks like a fantastic production!

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      The show is on till end of Jan Dayna, so still not too late to book your trip to the theatre.

  10. November 27, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    The Wind in the Willows sounds like a really great play! I will have to see if they’re playing here in New York 🙂 xo, Suzanne

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      I don’t think they tour to NY Suzanne, but hopefully you can catch a similar show there

  11. Bob Bowers
    November 27, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    I saw my niece Lily Bowers ,Star in the show aged 10 , she & her colleagues in the Junior Cast , were an inspiration. The whole production is very professional
    With the adult actors & stage management and chaperones excel at developing young & local talent.
    Not to be missed

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 27, 2018 / 8:44 pm

      How wonderful for you to share this great story with us Bob, I am sure you must have been so proud of your niece. We agree that the show is definitely not to be missed!

  12. Shar
    November 27, 2018 / 9:26 pm

    Aw this seriously looks so fun! My kids would love this when they are a bit older and can sit still long enough!

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 28, 2018 / 7:29 am

      Yes they surely would Shar, its fabulous for kids aged 3 onwards

  13. November 28, 2018 / 2:25 am

    this is such a classic, I would love to see it done on stage! maybe i’ll get to catch a show near me one day

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 28, 2018 / 7:29 am

      Yes hopefully Jasmine, its worth watching it x

  14. November 28, 2018 / 9:54 am

    I’ve always loved Wind in the and the Willows ever since I was a kid. The show sounds and looks amazing.

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 28, 2018 / 10:22 am

      It certainly was and brought a little magic into our night, both our boys thoroughly enjoyed it for sure.

  15. November 28, 2018 / 6:51 pm

    I love the magic of art, especially at a theater or play. It makes it so much more realistic.

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 28, 2018 / 10:13 pm

      Yes absolutely…bringing mere words into real life and making it much more interesting

  16. November 29, 2018 / 1:30 am

    What a wonderful post! I have never heard about this story, it seems interesting. But I do enjoy the theater arts so I’m sure I would enjoy if I saw this live. Thanks for sharing!

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 29, 2018 / 9:09 am

      You certainly would, everyone who has gone to the show including us totally loved it!

  17. November 30, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    Although I’ve heard about the story, I’ve never read it, but I know this is such a classic, I’d love to see the play!

    • yeahlifestyle
      Author
      November 30, 2018 / 10:35 pm

      Hope you do get the chance to watch the show

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