The Wind in the Willows
Venue: The Haymarket, Basingstoke
Date: 23rd September 2021
Stage Director: Adam Bayjou
Musical Director: Simon Eastwood
Assistant Directors: Caroline Price & Owen White
The Wind in the Willows
What a journey down memory lane! The “feel good” factor of this recreation of Kenneth Grahame’s book was very nostalgic. From the opening number the audience was drawn into the life along the riverbank.
Front of House
The welcome by front of house and the Society was so genuine and warm. Patrons were encouraged to follow the strict guidelines imposed by the venue.
The traditional opening of the show brought many murmurs of appreciation from the audience. The theatre was very well ventilated to the point of being draughty.
The programme is most interesting and colourful, full of fascinating articles, pen pictures and details of scenes and musical numbers. Good to see so much support from local businesses with their adverts. A whole page is dedicated to NODA which is great. Such a good programme deserves to be entered into the Poster & Programme Competition.
The myriad of scenes gave the stage crew a hard task which they rose to admirably. The changes were very smooth particularly the flying. Together with the appropriate props, the whole staging was unfussy but totally created the right atmosphere.
Lighting & Sound
The lighting was creative and purposeful. The sound created by the cast and orchestra was very clear and easy on the ear. The system here is always so well managed.
Such creative makeup must have taken ages to perfect and possibly longer to take off. Excellent. The costumes were a delight with each group of animals having very distinct colour palettes and style. The wardrobe team must have worked long and hard to create the whole cast.
The band conducted by Simon Eastwood created a very good sound and supported the cast well. The balance achieved between principals and band was excellent. Whilst it was super to have a modern show which actually had trios and quartets sometimes the arrangement which included a female in a male role did lose some of the musical colour.
All the principals undertook their roles with a dedication that was palpable. The diction was clear throughout and the singing at times quite exceptional. Stage direction was well crafted and there were no unnecessary moves. Each, and every, member of the cast made an invaluable contribution to the success of this production which truly illustrated both the depth and breadth of talent within the Society – both on and off stage. It was delightful to see so many young members of the cast and, in addition, I understand many new members.
If the enthusiasm of the audience is anything to go by, you obviously have great support amongst the community.
Congratulations must also go to BAOS for their dedication and commitment to putting on this production despite all the various hurdles that came their way.
Congratulations to everyone involved for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Kay Rowan SE Councillor