Photo: Ken Leanfore

Posted by & filed under Arts & Entertainment, Theatre & Performance.

A much-loved children’s story performed by an eminent theatre group in a picturesque, authentic setting, that is, The Australian Shakespeare Company’s production of The Wind In The Willows in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Kenneth Grahame’s enduring 1908 classic tale about a motley collection of woodland creatures and their misadventures lends itself beautifully to free interpretation and improvisation. With such rich subject matter, the incredibly talented troupe from ASC have created a pantomime so animated and colourful it will enthral youngsters, yet with enough devious wit to keep adults entertained.

Each actor has wonderful rapport with children. They have strong, clear voices, broad gestures and excellent sense of timing, as well as ease and willingness to engage with audience and occasionally wander off script.

They use the environs to great advantage, with some characters making their entrance via a rowboat on the pond or suddenly appearing from behind a tree.

The performance takes place over two locations which requires the audience to pack up their picnic and physically move to another spot nearby. The move itself acts as an intermission, giving people a chance to stretch their legs and chat; the new location is effectively a scene change with Toad Hall at centre stage.

Here, the action ramps up with crashes and spills and drama. Moving props, hilarious songs, a frenetic battle and a ‘Pied Piper moment’ help prevent any lulls.

This a perfect summer outing: picnic, chardy, harbourside garden, great entertainment and something to keep the kids amused.

Until Jan 28. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney (Harbourside of Main Pond). $20−$80+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au

By Rita Bratovich.

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