THE New Venture Players performed the world amateur production of Wind in the Willows last night at the Dolman Theatre, the musical by Julian Fellowes based upon the classic book written by Kenneth Grahame.

Set in the natural world, the story follows Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad as they attempt to deal with the antics of Toad and his new-found love for motor cars, which lands him in serious trouble with the law.

The pastoral scenes were beautifully arranged, with subtle autumnal colours for the riverbank animals contrasting with red and black for the dangerous wild woods animals, the Wild Wooders, who demonstrated some great choreography, especially in the musical number ‘We’re the Wild Wooders’.

The ensemble was overall fantastic; the little field mice offered some beautiful harmonising in a very sweet scene with The Wassailing Mice.

Some strong singing from Chief Weasel, played by Mia Goddard, an emerging talent with a beautiful voice, Mrs Otter (Georgia Tasker-Davies) and Mark Cooper as Badger, showing experience and confidence.

The friendship group of Ratty (Sam Scarisbrick), Mole, Badger and Toad echoed the dynamics and the characterisation from the original novel; Toad (Rhys Perry), on occasions, stole the show, resplendent in his array of flamboyant green suits and washer woman outfit. Mole, played by the Year 10 Connor Cooper, following in his father’s footsteps, is another emerging talent, especially refreshing in one so young.    

The theme of friendship and acceptance was beautifully illustrated by the song A Friend is Still a Friend.  

This performance is a treat for fans of the classic tale.  

Julie Benson