The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium
A great big spectacular, a family production of the most epic proportions lies in wait for any who see The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium. This very English literary classic has been turned into a musical by Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. And what a show it is, with beautiful and elaborate sets, huge and catchy musical numbers and a cast that’s just as impressive.
Denise Welch as Mrs Otter and Gary Wilmot as Badger give flawless performances, surprising perhaps for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing them on stage before. Craig Mather as Mole is even more brilliant. But it is very much Simon Lipkin who steals the show with his wonderfully witty portrayal of Rat.
Chris Aukett, stepping in for an unwell Rufus Hound as Mr Toad, is flawless, proving that any performance with the understudy is no less fantastic. His energetic madness on stage is a marvel to watch and certainly does the almost legendary character justice.
The musical numbers are spectacular and performed perfectly, which is unsurprising given that many of the cast have come straight off the Guys and Dolls tour (including Lipkin). The songs are sweet, fun, catchy and have the entire room enthralled.
Peter McKintosh’s set is stunning. With very large and excellently designed moving pieces, the river bank, Toad Hall and the Wild Woods are shown in tremendous, jaw-dropping splendour. But it is perhaps the most subtle additions that really make the set truly amazing. The revolving stage is used particularly well as Rat and Mole row their boat down the river and the hanging willows moving gently in the wind are beautiful.
This is very much a production for all ages and definitely one to take the children to. It is certainly one of the biggest family productions the West End has enjoyed and worth watching entirely for the majesty of it all. The Wind in the Willows has everything: a great cast, great songs and a great adventure.
Photo: Marc Brenner
The Wind in the Willows is at the London Palladium from 16th June until 9th September 2017. Book your tickets here.
Watch the trailer for The Wind in the Willows here: