My….Oh, my. My Oh My. I got to see The Wind In The Willows yesterday, finally! And I was not disappointed.
I know that you are all thinking.. ‘Laura, why can’t you just go to a show and NOT blog about it for once?’… But I’m sorry everyone, it’s just a must. Besides, how else am I to remember what these shows were all about and how they made me feel if I don’t document them?
The Wind In The Willows made me feel on top of the world for a few hours. I’m not keeping it a secret, some of you may have seen on my Instagram that I have made a personal matter public. Nearly two weeks ago, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. I can’t begin to tell you how hard it hit us all. I guess, unfortunately…that alot of you will already know the pain. Being in the middle of this awful waiting stage to see if it has spread has been torture and I thought nothing could take my mind from these dark and uncertain days we are living in.
But I was wrong. I am thankful for any show I get to see and always admire the talent and hard work of the cast. But I have to thank the wind in the willows for letting me forget for a few hours. It was the best gift I could have received.
It is always a treat getting to see best friends and combining it with a show, so I hopped on the train from a sunny Ipswich to meet Ali at Euston station. It was a successful train ride because I tripped over a seat, made a seat table fall down without touching it and made a little girl cry. Very productive. The train was very busy when a Mum, Dad and two small kids got on. There were only scattered seats around so the Mum told the little girl to sit next to me. She took one look at me and promptly started crying. Great to know that even as a Mum myself…I still have the ability to terrify kids. Anyway, I was about to go scuttle somewhere else so they could sit together, but a man beat me to it and offered his chair. So then I got to nose over his shoulder the rest of the train ride at what he was doing. He wasn’t exactly hiding what he was scribbling in his notebook and now I feel that I could work for his advertising company. I also apologised in case I was crunching my polo too loudly. Don’t you just love awkward train rides?
Anyway, due to Alis trains being severely delayed, we didn’t get as much time to see each other as we planned, but such is life and travel. We made our way to the show and took our seats.
I love The Palladium by the way. It’s one of my favourite theatres.
Our seats were bang in the middle of the front row, so we didn’t need magnifying glasses or anything.
The orchestra started up which is always a delight but made even better being that we could see in to the pit.
The only regret about the show is that my two Littles didn’t get to see it. They had plans with aunts and uncles and we already booked the show by then. They would have loved it.
The stage set up was enchanting and I could see the awe in peoples eyes. The first song Spring was crystal clear and set up the show perfectly.
I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of wind in the willows when I was a kid. But this show was fun, lively and it totally changed my mind.
My favourite song without a doubt was the second number with Ratty and Mole. Messing About In A Boat made me melt. Simon Lipkin as Ratty was witty and heart warming. Craig Mather was cute as a button and weirdly believable as a mole. *shrugs*
We have all come to know Simon Lipkin for the most part as a very comical character who has everyone laughing (barring a few roles such as Bill Sykes in Oliver and Assasins)… But what I adore when he does a show like this is his voice. I think Simons singing voice is one of the best in the West End. One of those voices that is instantly recognisable and gives you tingles when the difficult notes are reached. I am so glad that they decided to do a cast recording of this show, because Simon is on top form with his singing in certain songs.
Having no strong feelings either way on Rufus Hound previously, I am pleased to say he really impressed me (as did the whole cast). He was very funny and lovable as Toad and the kids in the audience loved him. And that is why I love seeing these shows….you get to see someone on stage who you don’t know much about and it completely changes your mind.
The story of the show was mainly centred around Toad and his need for speed with Ratty, Mole, Badger and co helping him along the way to tone down his love for danger and life in the fast lane. I loved Gary Wilmot as Badger. He was wise and dear and very strangely, reminded me of my Dad. When I relayed the musical to my Dad and said that he reminded me of the badger…I think he was somewhat puzzled. But anyway.
Of course, there has to be a bad guy in every show. Step forward Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel. If you have read previous blogs of mine, you will know that I have a bit of a soft spot for a bad guy. And this show was no exception. You know you are living a strange life when you watch a show where you long for the weasel to remain bad but also redeemable. Neil was fantastic! Very erm…weasel like and played it so well. Never thought I could find a grown man dressed as a weasel attractive and relatable but I also liked Johnny Depp as the wolf in Into The Woods so I guess I have weird issues that we will delve into another day. I think Neil as Chief Weasel was my favourite along with Simon as Ratty of course.
Stand out songs from the show other than Messing About in a Boat were A Friend Is Still A Friend, The Wassailing Mice and the absolutely bonkers and catchy The Wild Wooders.
I won’t give any spoilers in case you are yet to see it but as with most shows, everything gets resolved in the end. The show is billed as a family show but anyone of any age could see it and enjoy it.
The stage set was enchanting and pretty. Most of the songs were memorable, catchy and sweet. The outfits were cute. The cast were superb and had quite a few lines that were laugh out loud funny. I am gutted that I didn’t get to see the show earlier in it’s run because I would have went back to see it.
I want to thank The Wind In The Willows cast and crew for taking my mind off every day life and problems for a couple of hours and putting on a mesmerising, heart warming show. I needed it.
It was great seeing the Lipkin again.
As I said before, try to get last minute tickets for this week if there are any. You won’t regret it. And if you can’t do that, at least listen to The Wind In The Willows soundtrack to get some of the magic.
Have a blast in the final week Wind In The Willows, you’ve been awesome!