Review: The Wind In the Willows
Saturday 20th June, Bramham Village Hall
Company: Bramham Drama Group
Director: Robyn Henderson
In a quintessentially English village on almost the longest day of the year, in a delightful village hall by a delightful English church an audience was taken to a bygone era of picnics, boating, Caravans and motor cars.
Bramham Drama Group’s performance of the Alan Bennett adaptation of The Wind In the Willows was second to none. Having been brought up on the antics of Toady, Rat, Mole and Badger I came to the evening with many a fond childhood memory and I was uneasy of being disappointed. But on the contrary I was absolutely enchanted.
Toad was as large as life, as pompous, as silly as you could ever have imagined, Rat as reserved and slightly stuffy, Mole in awe of everything, and Badger the old fashioned, educated stalwart of the Wild Wood.
Testament to director Robyn Henderson’s ability and visual skills, each vivid set encapsulated their world in simple and elegant form. From badger’s roaring fire to Toad’s Basket chair, it was all there but minus the spectacle and over-indulgence that would be so easy for a professional company to include. It was all more childlike, and as such, wonderfully engaging for all of the family.
The cast were superb in the show-stealing courtroom scene: Toad languishing in the dock, the stuffy judge, the Weasels heckling… And the style of staging – an almost reverse theatre In the Round, with the audience being surrounded by the cast at times made Kenneth Grahame’s River Bank leap off the page. Alan Bennett’s keen wit shone through in the dialogue, all flawlessly delivered by the whole ensemble.
Ask anyone who has seen this play and they will tell you that they haven’t smiled as much in years.