Lovers of the delusional bombast
Toad and his more down-to-earth friends Ratty, Mole and Badger will be
enthralled by Cayman Drama Society’s current production of Toad of Toad Hall.
The stage version of children’s classic Wind in the Willows, the play is
charmingly acted by a young but confident cast of child actors. The ensemble
performance boasts 24 cast members, who range in age from seven years old to
those in their teens. In fact the average age of the actors is nine.
A lively reminder of the popular
classic for those who were read the tale during childhood and a great
introduction to youngsters learning about wild wooders and riverbank folk for
the first time, Toad of Toad Hall was brought to life with a lively script,
confident acting and colourful set design, costume and make-up.
Young actors do well
Nicola Galvin in the lead role of
Toad did a superb job bounding around the stage bragging and being boarish –
her stage presence for such a grandstanding character was just right and
brought real warmth to the role, allowing the audience to be at turns horrified
and amused by the foolish, foppish yet strangely endearing toad. Nicola’s
performance was all the more noteworthy given that this was her first time on
The lead, of course, is only as
good as her supporting cast, and the 11-year-old was buoyed up by solid
performances from the rest of the cast. Mole (Madelynne Bowyer), Ratty (Veronic
St-Cyr) and Badger (Hannah Howe) were deftly played by the young actors who,
despite their youth, have notched up an impressive list of acting credits
The younger audience were as
transfixed by Toad of Toad Hall as the adult audience members and appreciated
the humour of the play and Toad’s hilariously grandiose manner.
Physical comedy was also in
plentiful supply and was ably demonstrated in a scene with the Policeman (Eden
Bowyer), the Judge (Alanna Warkwick-Smith) and the Jailer (Emma Booker). Miss
Bowyer’s broad northern accent and fluid form was Chaplinesque, while the
misses Warwick-Smith and Booker acted as worthy foils.
As one of the youngest cast
members, seven-year-old Teagan Galloway was charming as Marigold – opening and
closing the production as the imaginative young girl – whose vivid midsummer daydream,
like those of Alice, give rise to this most English and comedic of children’s
First staged in London’s Lyric
Theatre in 1929, Toad of Toad Hall is as funny today as it was then thanks to
A. A. Milne’s endearing characters and hilarious tale. The current production
is nicely brought to life on the Cayman stage by Karie Bergstrom (director),
Phil Pace (producer), Paul de Freitas (stage/Set design & lighting
manager), Jimmy De Loache (make-up design), Sue Howe (set decorator) and Lisa
Bowyer (properties manager). The production’s stage crew were all volunteers
from John Gray High School.
The Playhouse production of Toad of
Toad Hall runs at the Prospect Playhouse until 3 October and includes Sunday
matinees. Billed as a production for all the family, the show runs at slightly
over three hours – including intermission – so the matinee performances are
recommended for children younger than 10.
For tickets and the performance schedule, contact the CDS box
office, at 949-5054 or visit caymandrama.org.ky