La Boite managed to capture the hearts and imaginations of not only the little badgers who came to see the world premiere of Wind in the Willows, but also the bigger badgers who brought them along.
Kenneth Graham’s classic book was adapted for the stage by Maxine Mellor as a one-man show, starring Luke Carroll, and follows the adventures of four woodland friends who learn the value of friendship along the way.
Carroll’s background as a presenter on Playschool served him well in this highly physical kids show. Being a one-man show, Carroll was on stage the entire time (except for a few moments where he hid behind the stage), and played the narrator, as well as embodying the four main characters (Mole, Ratty, Badger, and Mr. Toad); all with distinct personalities and physical traits. He was fun, playful, full of life, and knew how to work the crowd. He certainly won me over – I wasn’t expecting to have as much fun as I did.
Director Kat Henry catered well for a children’s audience and used the entire theatre as the stage; Carroll ran through the audience and used the aisles as he set about on his adventures. There were also a couple of songs added in for variety and audience participation which was quite unique and extra fun – even the adults got in on it. In fact, by the sound of the giggles and laughter throughout the show, it sounded like the adults were having just as much fun as the kids. Especially when the kids would randomly call out things or ask questions (quite loudly) to their parents; this added an unexpected layer of humour to the show. Carroll skillfully took all this in his stride and even answered the kids or would work in any loud, unexpected noises into the show.
And the after party… Seriously, the kids show after parties at La Boite are better than the adult ones. There’s face painting, balloon making, popcorn, and cupcakes. There was also a vintage car for the kids to sit in, and even the programme doubled as an activity fun book.
I would highly recommend The Wind in the Willows as a great show for the holidays which the whole family can enjoy.
The Wind in the Willows is playing at the La Boite Theatre till Jan 17.