THIS was a lovely ‘homely’ version of a wonderful classic tale loaded with quirky charismatic characters.
And the talented cast certainly did the story justice – we took the animals to our hearts as soon as they set foot on the stage.
Ketzia Broad made for a magnificent Mole, portraying the humble character perfectly.
Likewise Michael Treagust was tremendous as the relaxed Rat and Adrian Over was brilliant as the uncompromising Badger.
And when you put them together, there was some great interaction between them, giving us a warm feeling about their friendships.
When the eccentric Toad (Christopher Gaunt) made his explosive entrance the group was complete and the plot began to unfold.
John Birchley got the most laughs on the night as grumpy horse Albert who kept popping up and delighting the crowd when he did.
And the Chief Weasel (Ed Butler) and Weasel Norman (Daniel Whitehouse) were suitably smarmy.
The court scene and the battle of Toad Hall were among the highlights of the evening, with both being pretty chaotic on stage – the fight scene before the garden party finale was particularly impressive.
Another aspect which had the ‘wow’ factor was the ambitious set.
This production involved a lot of complex scene changes which were performed well and without incident.
Rat’s nautical house, Mole’s burrow and the river were one thing but the many vehicles Toad got his hands on took this show to another level – they seemed to get more and more elaborate and impressive as the performance went on.
It started off with the boat and Toad’s car and then we had a sizable steam train and a massive barge which glided across the stage as if it was on water.
This was Alex Stallard’s first full show as a director and he certainly stepped up to the plate with an excellent debut outing.
The remaining performances are at 7.30pm from tonight and tomorrow, May 3 and 4, and next Thursday to Saturday, May 9 to 11.
Visit norburytheatre.co.uk or call 01905 770154 for more information and tickets.