Wind in the Willows (4 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Wind in the Willows

Beastly adaptation uses its loaf

You never quite know what you’re going to get from a student production at the Fringe, but this group of actors (and I use the word in the truest sense) from Cambridge University is a cut above the rest. Each character is clearly defined – the irrepressibly mischievous Toad, tea-obsessed Ratty, sensible Badger and adorably put-upon Moley – leaving the audience in no doubt as to their respective agendas. While the anti-social weasels, who’ll stop at nothing to pilfer a tasty ham, are superbly re-imagined as a group of 1930s ladies in cocktail dresses.

As the well-known and equally well-loved storyline canters along, the main action is embellished by a witty mime artist. Strolling across the stage, she represents clouds, sheep, trees and all manner of passing objects. Equally inspired is the use of weaponry, with the final, beautifully-directed battle scene fought with French sticks and a limp white bread sandwich. Add to that the detailed set and costumes, and you’ve got a great hour of entertainment for all ages.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 31 Aug, 12.30pm, £7–£8 (£5–£6)

Wind in the Willows

  • 4 stars

A sparky and imaginative reworking of the much-loved novel, crammed with silliness, wit and good-natured messing about. This show features 1930s lady weasels, an epic baguette duel, the majesty of the British countryside conveyed through mime, and undoubtedly the most glorious picnic ever staged. We all know the story…

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