Based on the classic story of ‘Wind in the Willows’, ‘In the Willows’ is a modern take on the tale by classic British novelist Kenneth Grahame and follows the story fairly closely.
It’s Mole’s first day in ‘The Willows’ and her classmates look a bit scary. Surely Mr Badger will look out for her, as streetwise Rattie, rich kid Toad and cheeky Otter teach her the ways of The Riverbank. But when Toad gets locked up for joyriding, the Weasel Clan break into his (lily)pad and it’s only a matter of the before Chief Weasel reveals Mole’s dark secret.
This is a show has very little spoken dialogue and instead has a huge mix of rap music, street dancing, tap dancing, sign language. Chris Fonseca plays the mute character Otter, who along with Rattie (Played by Zara MacIntosh) teaches Mole (Played by Victoria Boyce) about life on ‘The Riverbank’.
Sign language is key to the whole production and Elements of British Sign Language (BSL) are integrated into all performances, there is someone on the side of the stage signing the whole production and Ratty and Otter teach Moley sign language as part of their friendship and sign is used a lot during the dancing scenes. I found the lady signing distracting at first but she merged into the background soon after the show begun.
The dancing is amazing, especially the Weasels, led by Chief Weasel (Played by Bradley Charles) who perform backflips and Zulu Kings throughout the night. Had to be the most jaw dropping parts of the night.
The minimum age range for the show is 6 years, so I took my 7-year-old daughter with me to get her insight into the night, here’s a few of her thoughts from the night:
Who was your favorite character?
Mole because I like the innocence of the character. She’s nice and kind, I would be scared of my first day at school
Was that the end you were expecting?
I knew Mole would make friends but I didn’t know what else to expect
Did the music add to your enjoyment?
Yes, I especially enjoyed Mr Toad’s song ‘Easy Life’ as it was very funny and very catchy
Were there any scary bits?
There was a bit where Otter got bullied and hurt and I had to cuddle my daddy
Although there are some scary parts of the show it is certainly a night that will appeal to children and also contains a lot of morals about ethics, friendship and trust, all of which lead to an interesting chat about right and wrong after the show.
The whole show was West End standard and I sat there thinking that I should be sitting in Leicester Square right now. Everyone around Havering should take the opportunity to see this while it’s on our doorstep
I still find myself laughing at the jokes of the night and singing the songs randomly as I walk down the street, you can find some of the songs on the Metta Theatre website