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.
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.
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
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.
New Vic Theatre
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.
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.
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.