Every story must have a villain… The Wind in the Willows @ The Lowry

Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s tale The Wind in the Willows has been brought to life in an all-singing, all-dancing musical adaptation.

With a star-studded cast and a score written by Olivier Award winning duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the show follows the lives of several riverbank and forest dwelling creatures.  

Downton abbey’s Thomas Howes gives a commendable performance as the sensible Water Vole Ratty and Irish actor Fra Fee perfectly captures the endearing innocence of Mole.

The story largely centres around the hilarious and outlandish character of Mr. Toad who is wonderfully portrayed in slapstick fashion by comedian Rufus Hound.

With a need for speed and the amusing catchphrase “poop poop” Toad steals the stage and endears himself to the audience as a lovable albeit narcissistic fool with a lack of common sense.

But every story must have a villain.

Neil McDermott is used to playing love rat Ryan Molloy in Eastenders so is perfectly suited in the role of Weasel; the villainous and sneaky cockney geezer of the Wild Wood.  

However minor characters such as the family of hedgehogs and the foxes also add charming interludes to the show which never lulls in momentum and constantly mesmerises the audience with colourful sets and costumes.

Of course no musical would be complete without the music and anyone who goes to see this show is sure to be humming catchy tunes like Messing About in a Boat and Taking over the Hall for days afterwards.

All in all The Wind in the Willows is a splendidly rambunctious fizz of a musical which entertains from start to finish and is sure to cause a stir when it reaches the West End.

The Wind in the Willows will be shown at The Lowry until Sunday November 6.

For tickets visit http://www.thelowry.com/event/the-wind-in-the-willows2

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