Big-screen intervals enhance memorable show

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19 June 2017 3:51PM

ONE of the nation’s best- loved novels was adapted for the Queen’s Hall stage in Hexham.

But there was something of the big screen about this version of the Kenneth Grahame classic, The Wind in the Willows by the Queen’s Hall Theatre Club.

Mole, Rat, Badger,Toad and Owl were joined by some of the district’s finest young dancing talent, while the performance included some pre-recorded scenes, filmed on location within Tynedale’s green and pleasant land.

The ambitious adaptation was written and produced by the experienced David Nixon, who complemented the roles of a large cast with young members of the K.S Dance Group and members of Hexhamshire Women’s Institute.

Lisa Berg was exceptional as Toad, revelling in the playful and mischievous misdemeanours of the lead character, who stole a car and ended up in jail after an on-stage court case.

Pre-recorded footage of the incident, with Toad being chased through the fields by motorist Nigel Baynes was a real highlight.

The versatile Baynes was akin to an early 20th century Top Gear host in his motoring gear, and also ensured many a laugh in one of his trademark drag roles.

Robin Jowett captured the essence of the good-natured Mole, happy to help and come up with useful ideas.

The resourceful Ratty was eloquently portrayed by Kerry Blake who, just like Jowett, delivered many a challenging poetic line with ease.

Badger (Ian Lockey) and Owl (Kevin Heymann) were equally impressive in their key roles.

Then where were the scheming weasels and their charismatic leader Big Wuh (Wouter Swousten), who tried to take over Toad Hall.

There were notable performances by Hands (India Bulmer), Shoulders (Amy Pearson), Kneecaps (Ruby Watts), and Toes (Josh Garton), while Fleur Forster took on the demanding role of Fox to great effect.

There are far too many names to mention, but Catherine Nixon and Millie Cook were suitably authoritative as the magistrate and jailer respectively, while washerwoman (Moya Holmes) was an integral part of Toad’s jail escape plan.

Joseph Tulip

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