Wind in the Willows
THE ADVENTURES OF MR TOAD CRASHING INTO IVER VILLAGE HALL IN JUNE…
In their 90-year history, Iver’s award-winning amateur theatre company The Richings Players have never performed the much-loved classic tale of Mr Toad and his band of countryside friends in “The Wind in the Willows”, so Director and the group’s Vice-Chairman Will Torrent, thought it was time they all went for a row down the river and shouted “Poop Poop” at the top of their voices!
Ever since Will saw the National Theatre’s production at The Old Vic in the 1990s, he has always loved the story and has wanted the Players to perform it. “I remember watching the 1983 film when I was growing up loving the story and characters of course, but it wasn’t until I saw the National’s magical staging in the 1990s that the story became cemented as one of my favourites. I remember that moment walking down the stairs in the circle of the Old Vic to see that beautifully lit stage, but then it was the revolving stage that changed every time it moved – that was the moment the play got my attention and I knew I had to direct it…or be in it!
This delightful and ingenious adaption of Kenneth Grahame's classic tale of river-bank antics by Alan Bennett created a sensation at the National Theatre in the 1990s and follows the adventures of Mr Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger. Along the way, Toad finds himself in prison and manages to escape, but not before Toad Hall, his pride and joy, has been overrun by the wicked Weasels. Thanks to the efforts of his kind and concerned friends, all ends happily, after an exciting battle to regain Toad's home…but will Toady learn his lesson?
The Richings Players, who were awarded a NODA Flame Award in 2017 for their magical production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are renowned for their innovative ways of staging, costume and make-up. With this in mind, make-up will be playing a huge part in the production and will be continuing a flourishing partnership with the Players and local make-up school; The Iver Academy, based at nearby Pinewood Studios. Over the last few years, the Academy who train artists for television, film and theatrical make up, have supplied students to design and deliver the amazing make up that has become another of the Players’ great strengths. Evelyn Stafford-Allen, Chairman of Richings Players and playing the part of ‘Mole’ says: “We love working with the incredible team at The Iver Academy and Pippa Vinall who heads up the team that come and help us is amazing. Her ideas and execution of them blow us all away; so, we’re super excited to see what she comes up with this time around!”
The original and enchanting songs by Jeremy Sams will be in the safe hands of Musical Director Erica Tugwell who is a professional musician and music teacher. She is a regular member of West London Sinfonia and West Forest orchestra and is a member of the Gil Amici Musica Wind Quintet. Having spent many years working in orchestra pits for musicals and operas Erica has taken up the baton to direct a number of shows for the Players including “Annie”, “Oliver”, “Godspell” and “Children of Eden”. Choreographer Phoebe Pearson-Hall has been dancing for seventeen years, and has choreographed six shows. This is her second involvement with choreography for the Richings Players following January’s “Panto in the Stone-Age”. Phoebe is currently working towards her Diploma in Dance Instruction in order to become a qualified ballet teacher.
With a big cast including children, regular adult members, as well as a number of new actors, it’s looking like another RP classic!