The Wind in the Willows book cover

The Wind in the Willows seems to be the children’s classic of the moment with news reaching us that Blackadder star Tony Robinson will appear in the Royal Opera House’s production when it transfers to the West End’s Duchess Theatre in December (Tony Robinson to star in The Wind in the Willows).

Meanwhile, in the digital realm another Blackadder actor, Stephen Fry, has given voice to The Wind in the Willows in an iPad app version of the book (Stephen Fry Reads for ‘The Wind in the Willows’ App)

This got us to wondering why this unlikely tale of anthropomorphised woodland creatures is still so popular more than a century after its publication. On the face of it, it is an unlikely book to become a classic. It combines a rollicking tale of delinquency and crime set against a backdrop of Edwardian pastoralism with the mysticism that is The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (a chapter of the book, not to be confused with the Pink Floyd album that borrows the name). In an interesting post at Saints and Trees Nancy Adams suggests that the tale of Mr Toads downfall due to his motoring obsession is a warning about the dangers of technological obsession (The Wind in the Willows as Eco Story) – a lesson that Mr Fry may want to consider!

Elsewhere it is the art derived from The Wind in the Willows that fascinates, with previously unseen drawings which formed the concept for a never made 1990s live action movie adaptation revealed for the first time (Wind in the Willows, live-action style). And in Hampshire Carl Davies Designs have created some truly fantastic costumes for the Point Youth Theatre’s summer production of Mike Kenny’s adaptation of the book (The Wind in The Willows – Carl Davies Designs).

Mike Kenny’s is our favourite adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, perfectly designed for a large cast of mixed ages and abilities – providing some real stand-out parts for older and more experienced actors, with plenty of opportunity for younger or less experienced players to fill the ranks of rabbits, stoats and weasels that the story requires. This is why it is our featured script for November.

The Wind in the Willows