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Carousel Theatre

Wind in the Willows

Date 7-22 April 2006 Venue Waterfront Theatre Reviewer Heidi Hoff

The Wind in the Willows

Spring has sprung, and what better way to herald its arrival than to take in the nature-themed performance of Carousel Theatre’s Wind in the Willows. Peter Austin’s adaptation of the classic Kenneth Grahame tale transports the audience into the wild world of Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad and has them roaring with laughter throughout.

The play opens with Mole (Mike Rinaldi), a neatnik who attacks his spring cleaning chores with vim and vigor and a good dose of physical comedy. Eager to enjoy the lovely weather outside, he abandons his dusting and meets a charming Rat (Toby Berner) at the waterfront.

After a fine picnic the two climb into Ratty’s boat, headed towards their eccentric friend Toad’s (Josh Drebit) mansion. True to his fun-loving reputation, Toad abandons his obsession with motor boats and replaces it with motor cars, which he promptly crashes every time he gets behind the wheel.

Mole, Ratty and buddy Badger (Gerry Mackay) make up a do-gooder trio and try to come up with a plan to help save Toad from destruction when they receive bad news. Toad has been charged with auto theft (among other things) and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. The ensuing trial turns hilarious as the members of the court, the animals and police officer break into a grand tango dance routine.

Relegated to a dungeon cell, Toad’s luck changes when the jailer’s daughter takes pity on him and helps him escape. Upon being reunited with his friends, Toad realizes his grand Hall has been overtaken by weasels. A plan is hatched to sneak up on the intruders and reclaim Toad Hall. Toad and friends are victorious and Toad literally swings from the chandelier in glee.

The entire play clocks in at just one hour with no intermission, heaven for parents of young children. The performance is geared towards kids aged five and up, though adults will appreciate the double entendres and the humans who play their animal roles to the comedic hilt

© 2006 Heidi Hoff