willows cast

In The Willows

Malvern Theatres


Metta Theatre never fails to disappoint and bring yet another awe inspiring spectacle to Malvern Theatres at The Riverbank with a Hip Hop beat in this twisting and hopping new musical In the Willows.

I was lucky enough to catch Metta’s Little Mermaid in May last year which mixed aerial acrobatics with upside down violin performances, but this inventive retelling of Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Wind in the Willows, incorporates British Sign Language (BSL) into the astounding choreography by award winning Rhimes Lecointe with street dance and incredible vocals that really hit a chord.

Olivier award-winning actor Clive Rowe owns the stage as Mr Badger teaching in an underprivileged underfunded school with the knowledge learned from experience to guide his students through thick and thin reeds along the river of life.

His pupils being newcomer Mole, Victoria Boyce who struggles to find her voice, is mentored by Rattie, Zara Macintosh who wants to use her words to start a riot and Otter, Chris Fonseca, dance battle extraordinaire.

Chris Fonseca, suffered meningitis as a child leaving him deaf in both ears but dances with a Cochlear Implant in one ear and is a joy to watch as he feels the musical vibrations through his body. emanating talent. Speaking of talent, Owl, Abiola Efunshile, rocked the glittery head scarf and her wise moves ripped up the dancefloor.

Toad, Harry Jardine, who has a penchant for anything bling, certainly enjoys the finer things in life stuffing his face with caviar and macaroons. He believes everything is his and up for grabs so ends up a Toad in the Hole when he joyrides a scooter and skips detention leading Mole astray.

Directed by Poppy Burton-Morgan, the end of the First Act sees Chief Weasel, Bradley Charles, storm Toad Hall with his other dangerous animals after threatening to unveil a hidden secret long since buried about Mole and gains the key code to exploit Toad’s riches and murder his goldfish Alan.

In Act Two Mole is ratted out by a couple of rabbity rabbits, Bitchy Rabbit, Katherine Picar and Twitchy Rabbit, Treasure Iyamu who make life tricky causing relationship breakdowns as Rattie discovers the truth and Mole delves into deep despair.

Bring Duck to the rescue, Seann Miley Moore (finalist on UK’s X-Factor) as his magical wand allows Mole to unlock her potential and come up with a plan to rescue Toad from The Hole and break him out in just his green pants.

Why end an argument with violence when a dance battle will solve any conflict? Don’t expect a Disney ending where the Toad gets to turn into a Prince but do expect emotionally charged lyrics, fast paced rhymes and rhythms and if you dip your toe in the water you might unlock your potential. Anything is possible.

At Malvern Theatres till Saturday April 27 so call Malvern Theatres Box Office on 01684 892277 for tickets or visit malvern-theatres.co.uk

Emma Trimble


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