Adapted for the stage by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist team George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, (collaborators on international hit musical Mary Poppins) brand new stage musical The Wind in the Willows is soon to come to life on the Lowry stage.
Kenneth Grahame’s much loved classic tells the tale of the vibrant Mr Toad, played by Rufus Hound, as he embarks on many an adventure with his trusted companions Ratty (Thomas Howes) and Mole (Fra Fee), there will be scrapes and predicaments along the way with Toad getting himself in a pickle on more than one occasion, but true friendship and a sense of belonging will prevail making this new production an absolute theatrical treat not to be missed!
Producer Jamie Hendry values so highly the joy of this classic novel that copies have been sent to each school within the cities this World Premiere tour will take in, introducing a whole new generation to the fun and frolics of the flamboyant Mr Toad and his long suffering friends.
This week the cast and creative team gave a lucky few a sneak preview into what we can expect when the show opens on 27th October at the Lowry. Sassy Sophia Nomvete who will be taking on the role of Mrs Otter thrilled with her song, fast, fun and totally fabulous! Fra Fee recently seen playing Courfeyrac in the Les Miserables movie plays Mole, a soft, kind and gentle creature, his voice when singing his song about Home is just perfection, I literally didn’t want him to stop singing. Changing the tempo after Mole’s calming piece is Neil McDermott who portrays Chief Weasel, with just the right amount of swagger and attitude, McDermott makes it clear that his mischievous Weasel won’t give Toad, Ratty and Mole and easy ride.
I spoke to Thomas Howes about his excitement to be making his musical theatre debut and getting back to the stage after many years doing film and TV. As soon as he heard about this new project he knew absolutely had to get involved, as the creative team described, this is a show for all generations, for Howes it will be an opportunity for his young nephews to come and see him in a family friendly professional role, something he is massively looking forward to. After auditioning then having several call-backs Howes contacted Julian Fellows who was unaware he was auditioning to say he’d got the part and got a huge, ‘Well done’ from the much respected writer who he had previously worked with on Downton. For Howes the generosity of Ratty is something which enormously appealed, despite Ratty’s stiff upper lip his caring nature and generosity shines through. A highlight for Howes being the song ‘A friend is still a friend’ which he feels will really strike a chord with audiences and highlights one of the most important themes running through the show, that being friendship and the importance of having and being a friend.
The Wind in the Willows looks set to become an absolute smash hit, judging on this preview I have no doubt the show will become a runaway success, the excitement felt at the preview filtered from the cast and creatives to each and every audience member, it is clear that this is going to be something very special.
After the show’s stop at the Lowry it will hopefully head to the West End to further wow audiences. Tickets are available now and are selling fast for this perfect family tale of fun and friendship, book now to avoid disappointment and bag one of the hottest tickets of the year.
The Wind in the Willows – Thursday 27th October until Sunday 6th November