top of page

Wind In The Willows - Darlington Theatre Players

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Reviewed by Kate O'Sullivan


A family-friendly show with heart, Wind In The Willows at Marloo Theatre is a whimsical retelling of the novel, with a focus on Toad's motorcar adventures and the takeover of Toad Hall. The comforting, nostalgic energy of the entire show started from walking in the door to cast in costumes selling programs and thematic cocktails and mocktails at the bar (this reviewer can confirm the Riverbank cocktail was like drinking a liquid Aero bar). With the addition of a 3-piece live band that supports the show wonderfully, the atmosphere overall is that of a lazy Sunday afternoon by the riverbank.

The large cast is led by a strong cast of leading performers in the classic roles from the Kenneth Grahame novel. A highlight performance comes from Sean Wcislo as Mr. Toad, a highly physical interpretation which is worth the ticket price alone, as well as from Chloe Wiggers as Rat and Michael Lamont as Badger, with good physicality and vocal choices. For a debut performance, Ethan Lucas does a solid job as Mole, especially during the scene setting pre-curtain up, although does sometimes get overshadowed by the higher energy performers. The adult members of the Weasel/Ferret gang also do a great job of being intimidating but not too scary for the younger members of the audience.

This show should also be commended for the youth cast's embodiment of (often silent) animal characters that filled out the rest of the world around the central characters. Of particular note are the swans who also aid with the "messing about in boats" and the duck family floating around on the river itself. There were moments when the younger cast spoke very quickly so their lines got lost, but for the most part this wasn't to the detriment of the plot or flow of the show.

From a technical standpoint, the use of the revolve in this show allowed for quick movement between well-decorated settings of the Riverbank and Toad Hall effectively. Some of the other scene changes were a little slower, but generally effectively covered by lighting or use of the actors. The motorcar itself was a wonderful addition to the scenes it was used in, and had clearly been drilled with all the performers that interacted with it. Costumes were well selected and gave a good indication of the characters, with special commendation to the makeup designs signifying the different animals, and giving the whole production an additional level of whimsy.

Sophie David's first full-length production as director shows a good understanding of the original text and a solid handling of a large cast of widely varied ages. Whilst there are some moments of upstaging from background characters, and some lack of projection and focus from younger members of cast, for the most part the show flows like a river, pulling you along gently through a story we all know and love.

Ethan Lucas (Mole), Chloe Wiggers (Rat) and Sean Wcislo (Mr Toad)

Reviewer note: Kate has previously performed at Marloo Theatre as part of the 2022 season. Tickets for this review were purchased by the reviewer.


bottom of page