The Wind in the Willows
Simon Callow (narrator)
Members of the Philharmonia Orchestra
Reviewed by: Amanda-Jane Doran
Reviewed: 17 June, 2018
Venue: Hall One, Kings Place, London
The much-loved children’s classic Wind in the Willows still weaves its magic of life on the riverbank. Richard Birchall’s delightful entertainment is appropriately nostalgic in style with homage to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and musical hints of Stravinsky and Janáček and is evocatively scored to illustrate the watery realm, the Wild Wood and Mr Toad’s turbulent adventures.
Kings Place was packed with tiny people, accompanied by parents and grandparents. Their response was excited and rapt for a scene teeming with insect, animal and bird life, cleverly illustrated by the orchestra, and Simon Callow perfectly judged all that he did. ‘The Wild Wood’ is particularly impressive with a swirling, menacing Waltz which recurs during the battle for Toad Hall. Mr Toad’s raucous exploits behind the wheel are highlighted by the horns, and the ensuing drama is conveyed in thrilling voice by Callow. The only reservation is that the conclusion is too sudden. For future performances, a reprise of the characters’ themes would make the piece even more irresistible.
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