The Adventures of Mr. Toad

Date 22nd March 2018
Society React Youth Theatre
Venue Empire Theatre, Consett
Type of Production Musical
Director Ian Mordue
Musical Director Tim Jasper - Conductor Peter Foster
Choreographer Laura Walley

Report

Author: Michelle Coulson

The Adventures of Mr Toad is a musical by Piers Chater Robinson based on the very popular Kenneth Grahame classic “The Wind in the Willows”. All of the familiar characters were represented and gave an excellent opportunity for the young members of this group to showcase their talent. The chorus was made up of a collection of riverside animals; foxes, ducks, squirrels and a hedgehog who gave super support to the principal cast with good singing and dancing. The “Wildwooders”, made up of a gang of menacing weasels, relished their opportunity to be evil and intimidating and their numbers were full of energy and expression.

The court room scene had lovely cameo performances by Charlotte Parker as the magistrate, Amy Edwards as the Policeman and Ben Muirhead as the clerk, Ben caused hilarity with his calls for “order”. Toad’s friend Rosy who helps him escape from jail was played by Meredith Burns, her singing was sweet and she portrayed a lovely contrast to the loud brash Toad; the jail scene was completed by Jess Elliot as “Aunt” with lots of comedy.

The main characters were very well portrayed with some excellent characterisations. Eleanor Grainger gave her usual high standard of performance as the Chief Weasel, she was strong, menacing and showed what a great all-round performer she is. Toad’s closest friends and allies, Badger, Mole and Rat were played by Victoria Simmons, Emily Donnelly and Olivia Stafford. Their characterisations were very good, each one showing the different personality traits of their role and creating a believable friendship group. In the lead role of Toad, James Grainger had a great time. His comedy was very good and he maintained his character throughout giving the audience many laugh out loud opportunities.

The production looked good, the scenes were well portrayed and gave a real sense of the riverside, woodland  and of course Toad’s various forms of transport and the costumes also worked really well. The music accompaniment was provided by a small band conducted by Peter Foster and gave fine support to the cast.

All in all this was a very entertaining production and a lovely evening’s entertainment. Congratulations to everyone involved.