There is a special treat in store for families this summer when the action spills off the stage into the audience as Toad, Badger, Rat and Mole make the Mercury Theatre their home in the Made in Colchester production of Wind in the Willows. Playing for three weeks of the school summer holidays, our lively quartet are ready to hit the road in a chaotic musical adventure like no other!
When Toad’s motoring lands him in hot water, our reckless but loveable hero is sentenced to 20 years in prison. With the help of his loyal maid, Enid, it’s not long before he manages to escape – only to find that Toad Hall has been taken over by Wild Wooder!
With Toad locked out of his home, can wise old Badger’s plans save the day? Will Rat and Mole be there for Toad in his hour of need? The discards of humankind, objects found along the journey and the best of the English countryside are all woven together to bring this colourful, fun and fabulous adventure to life!
This stage adaption of Kenneth Grahame’s novel by Willis Hall is directed by Matthew Cullum, director of the Mercury’s hit family productions James and the Giant Peach and Friend or Foe. Matt was also movement director for the Made in Colchester productions of Macbeth, The Butterfly Lion and The Hired Man, and has been involved in the development of the forthcoming West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Matthew said: “Our Wind in the Willows will be a rambunctious romp through a noisy, energetic world of friends and foes, folly and tomfoolery!” He added: “Actor-musicians will be creating everything from scratch and ensuring the audience truly knows what it feels like to be run down by a giant roaring motor car or be snowed on in the middle of the dark and mysterious Wild Woods.”
Driven by an original score of live skiffle and fiesta music composed by Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Rebecca Applin, this production will bring a feast of colour and invention to the stage.
Family favourite Dale Superville will take on the role of Toad. Dale most recently starred as Wishee Washee in the Mercury Theatre’s pantomime Aladdin, as well as playing the roles of Centipede and Aunt Sponge in last year’s production of James and The Giant Peach.
Dale will be joined by his James and the Giant Peach co-stars Kate Adams and Pete Ashmore. Kate will play the role of Badger, whilst Pete takes on the role of Rat.
Kate’s theatre credits include Merlin’s Apprentice (Brewhouse Theatre), and Alice in Wonderland (Theatre Royal Northampton). Pete has most recently starred as Elyot in the Mercury Theatre’s production of Private Lives. Other theatre credits include The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Sherman Cymru), and The Ballad of Martha Brown (Angel Exit).
Sam Pay will play Mole. Sam’s theatre credits include Don’t Look Now (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch) and The BFG (Fiery Angel/Fierylight BFG).
The role of Wild Wooder will be played by Christopher Hogben. Christopher was last seen at the Mercury in Michael Morpurgo’s The Butterfly Lion. His other theatre credits include Miss Nightingale – The Musical (UK Tour) and Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket).
Simon Spencer-Hyde and Louisa Beadel complete the cast with Barnaby Southgate as Musical Director. Simon’s theatre credits include The Legend of King Arthur (Oddsocks), Alice in Wonderland (New Vic Theatre) and The Wizard of Oz (Newpalm Productions). Louisa’s credits include Three Sisters (Squint/Etch Theatre) and Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto (City Varieties Music Hall). Barnaby was most recently assistant musical director on Theatre Clwyd’s production of Little Shop of Horrors and played James in The Commitments (Phil McIntyre).
Assistant director Amy Trigg also joins the production as part of a three-month placement at the Mercury Theatre through the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, a professional artistic development programme for new and emerging theatre directors.
Wind in the Willows will be at the Mercury Theatre from Friday, 29 July until Sunday, August 21. Tickets start at £10. There are also £11 tickets available in most seats for over 60s and under 26s available Monday to Friday and matinees. To book tickets visit www.mercurytheatre.co.uk or call 01206 573948.
Wind in the Willows
Friday 29th July – Sun 21st August 2016