Pleasures for young and old
Review by Nadine Meisner for The Independent
The Wind in the Willows is for all those who yearn for the wistful bygone days of Englishness, for riverbanks, picnics on plaid rugs, and Fair Isle patterned knitwear. The new production by ROH2 (as we must now call the department organising the Royal Opera House's satellite events) takes English nostalgia to new and magical heights. It adapts Kenneth Grahame's Edwardian classic into total theatre, where live music, song, dance and narration slot smoothly around each other.
The initial idea came from the show's choreographer and director, William Tuckett, who with the dancer Iohna Loots is the only participant employed by the main house. All the others are either ex-Royal Ballet or freelancers, such as the conductor Yuval Zorn, currently a member of the ROH's Young Vilar Artists programme, or the composer Martin Ward who has arranged an eminently congruous score, inspired by themes from the English revivalist composer George Butterworth. click for more
******************************* Wind in the Willows
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent
Meanwhile at Covent Garden, family groups are being catered for in William Tuckett's Wind in the Willows – a music-and-dance version of Kenneth Grahame's book.
Nostalgia apart, this is hardly obvious material for ballet (how does a badger dance?). But Tuckett's laid-back inclusiveness – allowing spoken narrative, plenty of non-dance acting, and even a bit of light-operatic song – squeezes the thing into service, just about.
In any case, the Quay Brothers' clunky set doesn't leave room for shaking much of a leg. I'm mystified that so much space is given to roof timbers and furniture, when most of the story takes place on a riverbank. But then, so much suspension of disbelief is required to meet an amphibian Jeremy Clarkson with a full set of points on his licence, that such quibbles hardly signify. click for more
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