Audiences can expect to be whisked away to a beautiful world of adventurous animals and woodland magic in The Court Theatre’s upcoming summer season of The Wind in the Willows.
“Most people will be familiar with the story or grew up with it, so it’s an honest interpretation of the tale they know and love – with a twist," says Assistant Director Stephen Robertson, who is also the costume designer and choreographer.
Together with The Court’s Artistic Director Ross Gumbley and Musical Director Richard Marrett, The Court Theatre is reviving this classic tale for a spectacular summer season, last performed at the theatre in 1995.
“Our approach is not to try and recreate something from the past, but how we can best tell this story now and really keep the core of The Wind in the Willows,” explains Gumbley.
With an exciting new concept, audiences can expect thrilling theatrical magic, whether they’ve seen the show before or not.
“Our idea is that the animals in the story have found this old abandoned theatre and they're putting on the play!” explains Gumbley.
With a cast of 22 stars stunningly costumed as rabbits, squirrels and all sorts of woodland creatures, the characters will be frantically running around on-stage, creating snow, smoke and everything needed to set the scene for this wondrous piece of theatre.
“It’s going to be magic,” says Robertson. “It’s a period piece with a twist. From a costume point of view, it’s really big. There’s probably going to be 150 costumes – and each costume has about six to nine pieces...”
The set, designed by Julian Southgate, is full of magic, with a boat, train and several motor vehicles appearing on-stage to wow audiences.
“The Wind in the Willows deserves a retelling because its charm hasn’t faded,” says Gumbley. “It’s a quintessential good time with characters that, even if you don’t already know them, will steal their way into your heart.”
The main cast playing those beloved characters includes Cameron Rhodes as Toad; Eilish Moran as Mole; Gregory Cooper as Ratty; Tom Trevella as Badger and Andrew Todd as Albert, the role that Gumbley played when he was part of the show in the ‘90s.
“It’s going to be a lovely, visual, fast-paced comedy feast for the family – and that includes the adults. It’s not a kids show,” says Robertson. “It’s wonderful for families, but it’s not purely a kids show. The Wind in the Willows is one of those timeless pieces like Mary Poppins – it’ll always be with us.”