Arts Award Review: Katie Penn

I went to see The Wind in the Willows performed at the Abbey Theatre and it was literally amazing! All the thought process behind it was just incredible. They had real water for the river, so Ratty’s boat could really move from one side of the stage to the other, without any strings to ruin the effect or get in the way. The scene changes were so swift and controlled that I barely saw them! The backdrops were so convincingly real that sometimes I actually felt like I was relaxing by Ratty’s river, running from weasels in the forest or having a party at Toad Hall. 

Art forms involved were music, drama, lighting, design, visual art, sculpture, and fashion and costume. There was something in that show for everyone, whether you liked designing, sewing, acting, painting, sculpting, face-painting etc… 

I would recommend this show to others as it’s appropriate for all ages, has outstanding actors, life-like scenery and is all-in-all, a fun way to spend your time. It can also, once you get into it, make you feel like you are actually there, on stage, in role, in your own world, in The Wind in the Willows. 

My favourite thing about the show was definitely the acting, though. So many characters were portrayed, and those playing more than one role… well, let’s just say that I thought most of them were completely different actors, they were that good. The characters that really shone to me were Toad, Ratty and Albert the donkey. Toad was hilarious, cracking jokes non-stop, arrogant to the end. Ratty started the show by sitting in his boat and grumbling at the audience for disrupting his nap. Albert the donkey was sour, grouchy and hilariously sarcastic, having the audience clutching their sides with laughter. These three characters really stood out for me. The made the show (not literally). They brought it all together.

As much as I loved the show, it was a little slow to start, with a few young children skipping around in bunny costumes. I have to admit, when it first started, after Ratty’s complaints to the crowd, I did think that it was going to be childish and boring. But things picked up when Toad arrived. Nevertheless, I think that shows have to draw you in straight away, like books and any other form of entertainment. Otherwise your mind drifts, and, when it eventually tunes in again, you won’t have a clue about what’s going on. So if there was one thing I had to improve about the show, it would be the beginning. Drama. Laughs. Emotion. That’s what the audience craves for, not some little kids hopping around in bunny suits.

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