Producer Jamie Hendry announced this morning that Denise Welch, Gary Wilmot, Craig Mather and Simon Lipkin will join Rufus Hound and Neil McDermott in the major new musical THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, which will open at the world-famous London Palladium. He also announced that previews would begin ahead of schedule on Friday 16 June 2017, with opening night on Thursday 29 June. Hendry also unveiled a ticketing initiative where children can see THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS for free at 80 performances over the summer.
As previously confirmed actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound will reprise his Manchester Theatre Award-winning performance as the amazing Mr Toad. He will be joined by West End stars Simon Lipkin as Rat and Craig Mather as Mole, EastEnders actor Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel, with Coronation Street and Boy Meets Girl star Denise Welch as Mrs Otter and West End legend Gary Wilmot as Badger.
The confirmed company also includes: Chris Aukett, Joel Baylis, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Abigail Climer, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, Emilie du Leslay, Joshua Gannon, James Gant, Evan James, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Ryan Pidgen, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Natalie Woods.
Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
This riotous comedy follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall.
Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the world-famous London Palladium.
Tickets will be available from £15, with reduced price preview performances. Kids go free on Monday to Friday performances for tickets booked by 31 May, terms and conditions apply.
Produced by Jamie Hendry, MJE Productions and Josh Gilinski, in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with choreography by Aletta Collins, set and costume design by Peter McKintosh, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Gareth Owen, wig and makeup design by Linda McKnight, orchestrations by Chris Jahnke and David Shrubsole and musical supervision by Simon Lee.
Rufus Hound is one of the UK’s leading actors, presenters and comedians, most recently seen on stage in What The Butler Saw (UK Tour), Don Quixote (Royal Shakespeare Company) and as Freddy in the original West End production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre). His other theatre credits include The Wars of the Roses (Rose Theatre), Neville’s Island (Chichester Festival Theatre) and One Man, Two Guvnors (Theatre Royal Haymarket). Television credits include Doctor Who (BBC), Cucumber (Channel 4), Drunk History (Comedy Central) and A Touch of Cloth (SKY). He is also a regular guest on comedy panel shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC), Would I Lie To You? (BBC), and 8 Out Of 10 Cats (Channel 4).
Simon Lipkin most recently starred in the UK Premiere of Honeymoon in Vegas at the London Palladium. His numerous other theatre credits include Avenue Q (Noël Coward), Rock of Ages (Shaftesbury/Garrick), I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium), The Lorax (Old Vic), Spamalot (UK and International Tour), The Wedding Singer (UK Tour), Footloose (UK Tour) and Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory).
Craig Mather’s theatre credits include Marius in Les Misérables (West End), Melchior in the German premiere of Spring Awakening, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Harrington’s Pie Shop (West End) and the UK tour of Tonight’s The Night.
Neil McDermott is best known for portraying Ryan Malloy in EastEnders (BBC). His stage credits include Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Jean-Michel in La Cage Aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Rolf Gruber in The Sound of Music (London Palladium). Further television credits include The Royal (ITV), Casualty (BBC) and Doctor Who: The Next Doctor (BBC).
Denise Welch is best known for her television roles which include Natalie Barnes in Coronation Street (ITV), Steph Haydock in Waterloo Road (BBC), Pam McDonald in Boy Meets Girl (BBC) and Marsha Stubbs in Soldier Soldier (ITV). Theatre credits include Smack Family Robinson (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Steel Magnolias (UK Tour) and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Royal Exchange).
Gary Wilmot first rose to fame as a contestant on New Faces, with presenting credits since then including Showstoppers and So You Want To Be Top. His extensive musical theatre credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre and UK Tour), Oklahoma! (UK Tour), The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium) and Big (Theatre Royal Plymouth / Ireland).