Who could have predicted that Kenneth Grahame’s genteel Edwardian tale about riverbanks and hot buttered toast would translate so well to Metta Theatre’s grime infused retelling? I went in sceptical; I came out converted by one of the freshest, most original pieces of theatre I’ve seen this year.
This isn’t the Wind in the Willows by Alan Bennett or Disney. In Metta Theatre’s cheeky, exuberant hip-hop musical version, Kenneth Grahame’s oar-plashing sylvan tale is kidnapped by the unruly class at The Willows school, next to the rough Wildwood Estate where the Weasel gang rule.
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.