REVIEW: The Wind in the Willows at Bolsover Castle

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It was initially looking like being more of a ‘storm’ in the willows, but a move from outdoors into the wonderful setting of Bolsover Castle’s riding stables meant that the inclement British summer weather was unable to put a dampener on this classic Kenneth Grahame tale.

The Wind in the Willows is a story of friendship among woodland creatures who embark on a great adventure to save their friends and the forest from the dastardly weasels. Along their journey Ratty and Mole need to rescue Mr Toad and save Toad Hall from being captured. Mr Toad does not help himself, however as his greed for all things new means he cannot resist stealing a motor car from Weasel.

The Wind in the Willows at Bolsover Castle

The Wind in the Willows at Bolsover Castle

The two characters of Weasel and Mr Toad were brilliantly cast. Benjamin Lawlor’s fabulously over the top performance as an East End Weasel had essences of both Russell Brand and Fagin. Jackson Pentland’s Mr Toad brought colour to the stage. His vibrant flamboyance oozed across the set as he threw himself head-on into his cheeky character.

Chapterhouse Theatre Company’s brilliant adaptation of this timeless novel was superbly performed by all six cast members and their original songs had the viewers clapping and singing along. The audience participation was great for the youngsters making this a truly great family outing. The cast even posed for photographs with the children, and adults, at the end of the show.

This is the second visit by the theatre company to Bolsover Castle this season. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the sunshine outside the Little Castle earlier this summer watching a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I am excited to see where the theatre company are performing next year as they have announced adaptations of other great classics such as The Jungle Book and Wuthering Heights. However, I can’t imagine a more idyllic setting than the stunning Bolsover Castle to be entertained on a summer’s evening.