A GLORIOUS DOWNSTREAM WILLOWS FOR OUR AGE
You gained’t see a prettier, extra refreshing or sustainable stage this Christmas: pure colors, riverbank rushes, a naked tree (which can have inexperienced rag leaves and vibrant rag blossoms hauled up it because the play’s seasons roll), and just some white fairylights alongside the sting of this outdated corridor of delight. As we sit down, pretty daybreak or nightfall mistiness makes it particular (the lighting is especially intelligent: Zoe Spurr’s design) .
Solely few odd objects – a classic lifering, a ladder, a visitors cone, a light buoy, a little bit of garbage – artfully recommend that this sylvan setting is definitely nearer to Wilton’s house turf. . And certainly Piers Torday has tailored the up-Thames rural setting of Kenneth Grahame’s guide to be an city take, London’s personal stretch of river. And the weasels? You’ve guessed it: the Wild Wooden is the Metropolis, the weasels and stoats the financiers and builders. They’ve turfed poor Mole out of his gap in Hyde Park to construct a personal highway, and that’s how the expensive chap – Corey Montague Sholay, in a stunning furry black coat – will get to satisfy the insouciant Ms Ratty (Rosie Wyatt) and grow to be one of many troop who’re mates to at least one one other and to the good River itself.
It’s a stunning thought, and directed with gleeful tempo by Elizabeth Freestone. Chris Warner’s music is performed on bass, fiddle, guitar and clarinet by the forged, typically selecting up on Grahame’s phrases typically recent, typically a bit rappy. Rosie Wyatt has a very pretty voice – with a pleasant sharp music-hall edge, very becoming for the setting. Sholay the mole is a satisfying tenor, although nothing brings the home down like Darrell Brockis’ as Toad, a baritoad, a delight, we’ll come again o that. The geese in yellow tights and random beachwear lead duck-aerobics; the weasels snarl and shout by means of loudhailers; the faint wild music of the God Pan who rescues the infant otter from sewage poisoning has simply the magical shiver it wants.
The enjoyable is within the fashionable message – preserve the river clear, defy Weaselpower, have some sympathy for these like Mole who in the present day search the capital in useless for someplace to make a house. However vital too the characterization, fairly trustworthy to Grahame. Mole is obsessive about risk- assessments and solely rises to heroism within the ultimate battle; Ratty on his rolling raft (constructed of recycled junk and pallets) enjoys his life and his river, with the well-known picnic being product of scavenged litter meals – kebabs,fried rooster bits, Pret salads. Otter has a Tik Tok website about how he’s a warmer otter. I puzzled how on this context Torday would create the grumpy highly effective Badger, however it’s good: Melody Brown is a gruff hippyish outdated campaigner, garlanded with former marketing campaign badges to ban the bomb and save the stoat. She delivers a advantageous folksong in early Bob Dylan type, and explains to the junior animals that Toad’s prosperous absurdity is as a result of he an inevitable sufferer of late capitalism and the intellectually bankrupt profiteering elite who’re destroying the world.
However Toad himself! Mr Brockis, probably now my new comedy favorite if not pin-up, renders him as a fruity, middle-aged thespian showoff , springing onto the scene with a cry of “Ratty darling!”, in a silk dressing-gown and inexperienced pantaloons. He leaps, he dances, he brags, he poses with a nimble hilarious pomposity. When reformed by the hippie outdated Badger as per the guide, sorrowfully confessing “I’ve been on a journey” , he reverse-ferrets superbly into entitled vanity. His toys will not be canary-coloured carts and motorcars however a ridiculous Toadbot – an Alexa-type system that interrupts so much – then a lit drone he flies on a rod over the entrance rows, an train bike and, after all, a deadly e-scooter. His track of Toadish triumph – properly selecting up a lot of the unique phrases and rhymes – brings the home down.
Truthfully, it’s one for our instances and for ages, this. There’s even a puppet otter cub. Two comfortable hours…
Wiltons.org.uk. To 31 dec