© Redlynch Players 2017
Steve Young - Scene One Plus
When I was asked to go to see this show and review it, I instantly had a nostalgia flashback, as the first play or show I can remember going to see was Toad of Toad Hall at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln as a child. This production is Alan Bennett's adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame's original, and I was greatly looking forward to seeing how this group would deliver the material.
As in the book, the play opens with Mole (Sarah Newman) discovering a new world outside his underground home, and is stumbled upon by Ratty (Alison Silver) who takes them both boating. After getting to know each other, the two meet the bombastic Toad (Mark Newman) and discover his predeliction for anything new...including motorcars!!! Eventually, following a frightening encounter with the Weasels in Wild Wood (Mark Everett and Lawrence Brookfield), the two finally make their way meet Badger (Ron Perry).
Together they try to contain Toad's excesses, but ultimately fail, and ultimately have to witness Toad's downfall and inprisonment for stealing a car (but more for being disrespectful to the judge, it seems?)
The cast had an excellent grasp of their characters, with both Sarah and Mark Newman in particular deployed to the full. My feeling was that Alison Silver could have been a little more aloof as Ratty, who generally seems to be in world of his own, only really noticing the other characters when he trips over them. This is a very small comment, and once again this group took me wholly into their world. There were some lovely cameos, especially with Janet Newman pretending to have nothing whatsoever to do with Mark, and Graham Simpson as the put-upon, but educated, horse Albert.
I have seen better shows from this group, but not many. They also set the bar so high in such straightforward surroundings that they still outstrip most other amateur societies with a show that was a little hesitant at times. Nonetheless their patrons are a very knowledgeable group, such that this show was sold out weeks before opening night.
Their faith was not misplaced, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening