The Wind In The Willows Gets The One Man Treatment

| January 7, 2015
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All images: Michelle Cha

Words by Rachel Trevarthen

COMBINING the meandering tale of Mole, Rat and Badger with the wild action of Mr Toad, the new one-man adaptation of the classic story The Wind in the Willows is sure to entice adults and children alike. Playschool presenter and Queensland stage star Luke Carroll, dons the hats and habits of all four main characters in the upcoming production premiering at the Roundhouse Theatre on January 7.

Playwright, Maxine Mellor and director, Kat Henry wanted to capture the intersecting fast and slow stories of the Kenneth Grahame classic; the nostalgic nature soaked tale of Mole and Rat traversing the river and woods and the reckless, hedonistic antics of Mr Toad. Working with one actor does have its perks; Kat described the flexibility it brought to the production. Maxine adapted the complex but poetic story of The Wind in the Willows by creating a more linear version without compromising the colourful imagery that is so beloved by readers.

Moving effortlessly between the awkward wonder of Mole, the batty energy of the Rat, the grumpy endearment of the Badger and the adventurous narcissism of Mr Toad, Luke Carroll is a divine combination of inspiration, perspiration, and the art of pure storytelling. Luke says that The Wind in the Willows has been one of the most challenging and rewarding performances of his career, portraying all four characters and never leaving the stage in the one-hour production. Yet he knows how to put on a show and keeps the set lively and adventurous with a seamless balance of narration and characterisation including singing four songs from the much loved story. Luke’s intense energy will be sure to keep the audience enthralled with enthusiasm. It is quite weird at first seeing one person playing four different characters, but you soon get too caught up in the story to care. I think Luke’s experience as a Playschool presenter helps him to keep energy levels so high. Seriously though, imagine running around talking to yourself in four animal voices for an hour?  It’s way too much for most average humans to pull off, yet Luke is a special talent born to do what he does.

Luke Kat and Maxine

Luke, Kat and Maxine

The set and costume is kept intentionally simple yet playful, using towels, pieces of wood, cloth and other items reminiscent of yonder times, when children had nothing but what they found and their imagination to excite them. The play is suitable for children aged between four and twelve, and anyone else who enjoys messing about in boats and losing themselves in the wonder of nature and imagination. As part of the school holiday program at La Boite, they are offering two-day workshops for The Wind in the Willows from January 13 for children aged six to 12. These are designed to foster performance and drama skills in a practical, interactive and engaging environment.

The Wind in the Willows runs at the Roundhouse Theatre from 7- 17 January. Tickets are on sale now from La Boite Theatre Company’s website or by phoning 07 3007 8600.

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In the spirit of embracing your inner child and the glory of holidays, get along and have a long day of it, for ‘after all the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working’.

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Category: FEATURED, LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized

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