We were invited to attend Wind in The Willows at the La-boite Theatre Company. I took along my two children 5 and 7. Let me start by saying the play was great! Luke Carroll was great!
I recommend the play, but don’t take young kids. From 8+ onwards depending on their maturity would be ok, and they would need to know the story of Wind in the Willows to truly grasp the character changes. (My daughter read the book a few days before in preparation). I feel the play was misrepresented and here is why :
I had seen a few different advertisements around for the show. Obviously the write-ups were taken from the media release. Most had the image shown above of Luke Carroll. He did not wear this costume, he did not have whiskers on, he was not as cute as a mouse (as in the image). He was just a man in dungarees and changed in and out of a coat to transform between characters (hard for my usually concept grasping 5 year old to grasp this time).
Several write-ups (including this one at Creative Drinks and havenmagazine.com) had written that the costumes were magical and the sets meticulous. The costumes were creative and imaginative: at one point a towel on Luke Carroll’s head transforms him into a judge. Yes, very creative but really would kids get it? By the noise of children chattering and fidgeting around us I am guessing no. It clearly states it was aimed for 4-12 year old’s or anyone who enjoys playing in boats. Um there was only a few sections where the boat was used. I can see some boat loving kids rocking up for a “boat” themed play and being hugely disappointed and we mum’s trying to console them afterwards. Oh the pressures of being a mum, do they have any idea what false promises can do to children.
I personally found the acting very fast as it was hard to follow the lines at times and I am worried how children could follow. There were some fun bits where the audience participated including becoming a sock puppet at a party and making the chugging sounds of a train. These were towards the end which was good as the children who were getting restless and bored or distracted were brought back in again even if they had no idea what they were doing it for.