While it is sadly premature to say that the theatre is fully back from its enforced hibernation of the last 15 months that put paid entirely to last summer’s Chichester Festival Theatre season, it was a (socially distanced) delight to welcome back of my favourite regional theatres with the opening, at last, of its production of South Pacific originally planned for last year.
Casting has been announced for Hampstead Theatre productions of Describe the Night on the Main Stage and The Phlebotomist Downstairs, including actors David Birrell, Ben Caplan and Jade Anouka.
The Shadow Factory showcases the stupendous technological capability of this new theatre. It gives us a taster of what can be shown here and this in itself excites. A fitting inaugural production from a theatre for the people of Southampton.
Howard Brenton, a clear eye and eloquent historical storyteller, has immersed himself in the facts about the story of the Spitfires in The Shadow Factory and found an imaginative intuition.
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graeme’s beloved family tale of the riverbank has delighted readers young and old for over a century. The story of Ratty, Mole and the severe Mr Badger and their mission to save the notorious Mr Toad from himself is a timeless classic enjoyed by all.
Kenneth Grahame’s story of Ratty, Mole, Badger and the irrepressible Toad have been a favourite of many for longer than they can remember – I grew up delighting in the stop-motion version and have long been a staple for adaptation on both stage and screen, Grahame’s skilful evocation of a pastoral England that no longer exists (and may never have) is infinitely comforting and inviting.
Other standout performances were that of Neil McDermott and Sophia Nomvete. McDermott played the Chief Weasel, a cunning and cruel Wild Wooder.
The Wind in the Willows’ charms are gentle, befitting any iteration of the beloved children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame. Julian Fellowes’ adaptation is faithful to that story and though the scale of Rachel Kavanaugh’s production is suitably large, it is also refreshingly simple.
The full cast for the new musical of The Wind in the Willows has been announced. They join leads Rufus Hound as the lovable menace Mr Toad, David Birrell as Badger, Fra Fee as Mole, Thomas Howes as Ratty, Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs Otter.
In my other blog today, I wrote about the “fact” that JM Barrie wrote Peter Pan as a metaphor for World War One. This was a little bit of a fib (explained fully here), but I thought I’d make up for my momentary dishonesty by sharing a few actual, real, honest-to-goodness surprising facts about Barrie’s 1904 classic.
did you know that JM Barrie wrote Peter Pan as a metaphor for the “war to end all wars”? Of course, you did. It’s obvious: the Lost Boys are the “lost generation” of the conflict, the mothers who leave their windows open for boys who will never come home are the grieving parents of the war dead, the fairy dust is the deadly mustard gas that allowed young soldiers to fly away from the battlefield and to the heaven of Never Land….