Toad of Toad Hall, Studio Theatre Ashley Road Salisbury

revstoad2THE Studio Theatre Christmas show at Ashley Road in Salisbury this year is Philip Goulding’s version of Ken­neth Grahame’s classic The Wind in the Willows.

Toad of Toad Hall throws its audience straight into the Reformation of the Toad, starting at the river bank home of Ratty as Badger arrives to carry out the winter-made promise of changing Toad from an arrogant boaster to a reasonable animal.

Of course, it’s a losing battle to alter the Toad.  As soon as he hears of the arrival of a brand new vehicle in the area, he’s addicted to the thought of having it … driving it … stealing it, if need be.

First he tricks the new owners, who happen to be magistrates, into taking off their clothes and standing in the river so he can drive off. Then he’s arrested, imprisoned, escapes, and his escapades continue until the final showdown with the Wild Wooders who have commandeered his Toad Hall and are about to rename it Weasel Towers.

Fortunately for him and for his friends Ratty, Mole and Badger, Weasels and Stoats just don’t get on, and so, divided, can be overcome.

revstoad1This production, on at the Studio Theatre from 7th to 12th December, is directed by Linda Hayman, des­igned by Alistair Faulkner with clever and atmospheric projections by David Green.

Kevin Murdoch is having a MARVELLOUS time as the amphibian eponymous hero – singing, dancing, sobbing, fighting, wheedling, giggling, quaking and eating up the stage. That’s just as it should be.

He is ably supported by Alistair Faulkner’s Ratty, Colin Hayman’s lugubrious Badger and Sheelagh Browne’s delightfully twitchy Mole. With David Rhodes and Selina McLaughlin as the Moreton-Pinkneys and company chairman (and playwright’s brother) George Goulding as a ticket collection, Harvey Munnery as a spivvy Chief Weasel and members of the youth theatre group as the wild wooders, this is a strong ensemble putting on a thoroughly enjoyable show that avoids all references to Christmas but is something for all the family to relish.



Photographs by Anthony von Roretz

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