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The Wind In The Willows

adapted by Adam Forde & David Perkins


     

'The Wind In The Willows' musical
"... real entertainment for adults and children ... "

Madeline Clements, Surrey Advertiser, 9 July 2010

 

     

Synopsis

'The Wind In The Willows' musicalWhen Mole pops up into the open air, a wonderful new world full of exhilarating adventures and new friends is revealed; boating with the gentle Ratty, feasting with the noble Badger and a series of mad-cap escapades with the reckless Toad. The audacious Mr Toad leads the friends from one adventure to another, upturned caravans, stolen motorcars, train chases ... But after Toad's daring prison escape can they all join together and beat the sinister inhabitants lurking within the Wild Wood, save Toad Hall and restore order on the River Bank?

Mr Toad began life as a character in the bedtime stories that Kenneth Grahame told his son, Alastair. A few years later, Toad's adventures were filled out and more characters were added (Mole, Rat, Badger etc) in a series of letters from Kenneth to Alastair.In this manner was 'The Wind In The Willows' was created, and has, since its publication in 1908, been one of the most popular of all children's books.

It has been adapted for the stage and screen countless times, so the question was, how could Adam and David adapt the story and be faithful to the book while at the same time taking a new look at such a well-known and well-loved set of characters and their adventures. How to transfer a classic novel about four riverside friends into a theatrical story with a large cast, and make it a musical?

Gradually, and after much discussion, they found themselves drawn increasingly to the less well-known characters in the book, especially the weasels, ferrets and stoats - those unreliable types that live and lurk in the Wild Wood. It is they who, once Mr Toad's troubles come to a head, relish his misfortune and move to occupy Toad Hall. Readers of the book are left to imagine what it is that leads the weasels to act the way they do. Adam and David began to ponder their behaviour, and so the idea began to grow that perhaps the Wild Wooders had rather more to do with Toad and his adventures than Kenneth Grahame had originally let on. With that in mind their new version began to take shape and a lot of what happens throughout the musical adventures in this adaptation fell into place.

'The Wind In The Willows' musicalAlthough the writers have introduced a slightly darker side than the book shows us, this version remains faithful to all that is great about the original Kenneth Grahame story : the friendships between Mole and Rat, and between Badger and Toad; the Englishness of it all, and perhaps most importantly of all the humour. This version has purposely leaned towards all the characters being played as animals. The darker human characters such as the crooked magistrate, the policeman, the jailer and his daughter are played by Wild Wooders (indeed, they should be seen as part of the plot against Toad) while the gentler and more sympathetic humans, the train driver and the barge woman and her many children are River Bankers. This is not essential but does lead to fewer awkward moments and fits in with the misfortunes of Toad being the work of the Wild Wooders from the start.

The first production of this new adaptation at the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre in Guildford created a riverside world where the story takes place, one that evoked an atmosphere of Edwardian Cambridge along its riverbank - weeping willow trees, punts, blazers, 'decent' chaps and 'rotters'. The script allows a production to bring the story to life by letting the actors capture the essence of each animal's character through the performer's physicality and the specific use of costume and simple animal face make-up.

We have deliberately put this title in the adult part of our catalogue as, whilst it can and has been performed by a young cast very sucessfully , it is possible to draw out of the script and the music aspects often overlooked or not understood by younger performers, which when presented by adults to a younger audience, can substantially enhance a production. Due to the preferred size of cast a company of adult principals, youth support and a childrens' chorus would work very well. This adaptation of 'The Wind In The Willows' features a full complement of songs, the music and lyrics for which have been especially composed. Clips of the songs can be heard in 'Audio Clips' above.


Characters

Principals (7m, 1f, 2m/f)
 
Mole (m) - an innocent abroad. Brave and loyal to his friends but has much to learn about the wide world, timid but not weedy, easily impressed by Toad’s tales, slightly in awe of Badger and allows Rat to gently bully him
Rat (m) - principled traditionalist, in human life would be a retired naval officer who chairs the parish council, delights in showing Mole the ropes, he feels a sense of superiority but hates being put down by Badger, generally fond of, but exasperated by Toad
Mister Toad (m) - very dapper, constantly curious and an almighty show off and not remotely worried what people think of him, delighted by his wealth and genuinely seeks to enjoy it with his friends but his constant switching from craze to craze is his downfall, always wants to act immediately before considering anything and has an arrogant streak which is less than endearing but mostly he is lovable because of his cheerful incorrigibility
Badger (m) - very imposing character, slightly rougher round the edges than the other three, probably because by nature he is a Wild Wooder, everyone respects him and goes to him for help and most are a little frightened of him (even some of his closest friends), is good and kind and strong and brave, leads the fight against Toad’s addiction with tough love and it is he that leads the battle of Toad Hall with a big stick
Jake Weasel (m) - the self-appointed leader of the Wild Wooders, manages easily to convince his fellows to join the revolution, verbose and delighted by the sound of his own voice, crafty and has an enormous thirst for power
Jasper Weasel (m) - Jake’s cousin and loyal side-kick, very stupid (albeit endearingly so), does not understand the revolution but would follow Jake to the ends of the earth and agrees with everything he says
Otter (m/f) - tough resident of the River Bank, organises the First River Bankers Regiment, close to but not quite part of the circle of four friends, takes on the role of protector
Minnie the Mink (m/f) - smart and cynical, unlike all the other Wild Wooders, likes to bring Jake down to size
Jack Weasel (m) - cocky 'geezer' of the Wild Wood, a senior servant in Toad’s household, cons Mole out of his coat and bullies him gently throughout, sabotages Toad's caravan
Jill Weasel (f) - Jack’s sister, all that Jack is but slightly nastier
 
Support (5m, 8f, 17m/f plus chorus)
 
Simon Stoat (m) - slimy car salesman, serves as Toad’s dealer, feeds his motoring addiction
Magistrate’s Clerk (m/f) - controls the trial, and, with leading questions, ensures Toad’s guilt, strong voice required
Magistrate (m/f) - another slippery character, plays the frightened witness as well as the bully at the bench and gleefully sends Toad down
Jailer (f) - very rough and ready and slightly seedy, as one might be being permanently deprived of daylight. Not remotely sympathetic to Toad’s plight
Jailer’s Daughter (f) - abit of a strumpet but clever, hatches the plan for Toad’s escape, motives are money and a strange attraction to Toad (he has that effect on lots of people)
Train Driver (m/f) - good hearted worker who has a healthy disregard for authority
Barge Woman (f) - buxom raucous wench with many children and a generous spirit, but don’t cross her!
PC Freddy Ferret (m) - typical Wild Wooder, has the added advantage of his uniform which gives him an air of authority
Hubert the Horse (m) - a world-weary plodder of a creature, shows no enthusiasm for anything
Barry Hedgehog (m) - a young lad with boundless enthusiasm and energy, the first to wake at Spring
Mrs Hedgehog (f) - Barry's mother, slightly worn out by his enthusiasm
Mrs Squirrel (f) - Mrs Hedgehog's friend
Brenda Hedgehog (f) - Barry’s sister
Portly (m) - Otter’s son
Creepy WildWooder's :
  Jeremy & Jamie Weasel, Ferdy Fox, Frank Ferret and Steven Stoat (all m/f) (could be renamed to suit female actors)
  Jemima Weasel and Sally Stoat (both m/f) (could be renamed to suit two male actors)
Rabbit (m/f) - a typical rabbit, flighty, easily startled
Felicity and Phillipa Field-Mouse (both f) - small and squeaky and ever so sweet, probably sisters (that’s how it is with field mice)
Jailer’s Guards x 2 (m/f) - slightly less intelligent versions of the jailer
Barge Children x 4 (m/f) - small, squeaky and ever so annoying
 
Chorus of River Bankers, Wild Wooders, townsfolk, people in court, carol singers, First River Bank Regiment, chasers, road users etc

Songs

  1) Springing Into Spring River Bankers & a few Wild Wooders
  2) Springing Into Spring (Reprise #1) Jake, Jasper & Wild Wooders
  3) Springing Into Spring (Reprise #2) Mole & River Bankers
  4) Messing About in Boats Rat & Mole
  5) The Latest Thing Rat, Mole, Otter, River Bankers &Servants
  6) Mister Toad Toad & Servants 
  7) Secret Revolution Jake & Wild Wooders
  8) The Latest Thing (Reprise #1) Rat & Mole
  9) Poop-Poop! Toad, PC Freddie Ferret, Jake, River Bankers, Wild Wooders
10) Villagers All Carol Singers, Minnie the Mink, Badger, Rat, Mole
11) Secret Revolution (Reprise #1) Jake & Wild Wooders
~~ Interval ~~  
12) Springing Into Spring (Reprise #3) /
      Poop-Poop! (Reprise #1)
River Bankers, Rat, Mole & Badger
13) Poop-Poop! (Reprise #2) Toad
14) Toad’s Trial Clerk, Magistrate, Freddy Ferret, Toad &Wild Wooders
15) Secret Revolution (Reprise #2) Jake & Wild Wooders
16) Poor Toad Toad & Jailer’s Daughter
17) Secret Revolution (Reprise #3) Jake & Wild Wooders
18) Poor Toad (Reprise #1) Toad
19) Toad’s Escape (Part 1) Jailer’s Daughter, Toad, Jailer &Guards
20) Toad’s Escape (Part 2) Train Driver, Toad & Chasing Pack
21) Toad’s Escape (Part 3) Barge Woman, Toad & Chasing Pack
22) Friends Badger, Rat &Mole
23) AFOWL UP! Wild Wooders
24) AFOWL UP! (Reprise #1) Wild Wooders
25) Hip Hip Hooray Rat, Mole, Badger, Toad & River Bankers
26) Encore Company

Information for Production Administrators

Here's a list of all the supporting material available and some other information you might need. Pricing for the production materials is supplied automatically with a Perusal Set. Royalty pricing can only be provided as a formal quotation.

Available now (see below) ...
 
Preview Script/Libretto
You can download straightaway a shortened copy of the script/libretto to read and get a relatively good picture of whether you would like to proceed to the next step. The Preview E-Script is made available to you as a pdf file sized for A4 paper and contains just over half of the script.libretto.
Perusal Set
These are available for customers in European Union countries only to borrow free of charge (but you have to pay the postage to return the set to us). The set contains ...
 
  • Printed Libretto
  • Printed Piano/Vocal Score
  • Sampler Audio CD
Available after Perusal ...
 
Libretti/Vocal Scores

Available to purchase in this form ...

  • Rehearsal Master Set on a Data CD (Cast). This contains the script and piano vocal score for your cast and crew provided as A4 pdf files. No problem about possible loss of deposit, as they are yours to print out and mark up as required. The price includes a multiple copying licence allowing you to copy the Data CD itself (enabling you to give or sell copies to your cast for them to make up their own rehearsal books) or to make multiple prints of the pdf's on the Data CD for your production company to organise and provide to your cast or crew.

To order this, create an account with us, then go to the 'Ordering for Musicals' page

Please note that we do not sell individual printed copies of libretti, nor do we hire sets of printed rehearsal libretti or scores.

Available after Rights Obtained ...
 
Backing Tracks
For use at rehearsals only.
Orchestrations
These are available for a 8 piece band as below, for hire to production companies only, who hold a valid, unexpired, licence to perform.
 
  • Keyboard (Piano) / MD
  • Reed 1 (Piccolo / Flute / Clarinet)
  • Reed 2 (Flute / Clarinet / Bass Clarinet)
  • Trumpet / Flugelhorn
  • Trombobe
  • Violin
  • Double Bass
  • Drums / Percussion (Drum Kit, Glockenspiel, 2 Pedal Timps, Car Horn, Woodblock (Hi & Lo), Train Whistle, Tambourine, Triangle, Mark Tree)
Royalty Type
Royalties for this title are 'variable fee, post paid', and will be calculated on a percentage of your box office income once your production has finished. See our pricing policy for details. We work on a quotation system for royalties, based on information you supply to us. Complete a printed application form or create account with us, and use the online version.
Video Licence
We have secured the rights to video productions of this title from the Authors, and we manage them on their behalf. Once a 'Licence To Perform' has been granted, and then on payment of a fee, we will be able to issue a 'Licence To Record'. There are some strings attached to this, but these are far outweighed by the benefits.
 
  • Record one or more live performances and mix down to a single video
  • Give or sell copies to your cast and crew
  • Sell copies to your audiences (take advance bookings on the night)

     

Order your free preview script or perusal material now ...
  • Preview E-Script (The Wind In The Willows) A4
    £0.00 Preview E-Script (The Wind In The Willows) A4
    A free preview script containing a significant part of the full script and provided as a pdf file sized for A4 paper.
  • Perusal Set
    £0.00 Perusal Set
    PLEASE NOTE : We operate a FREE Perusal Service, but due to the cost of postage/shipping, we regret that Perusal Sets are ONLY available to customers who reside in the United Kingdom (inc Channel Islands and Isle Of Man)...
  • Rehearsal Master Set
    £0.00 Rehearsal Master Set
    Rehearsal Master Sets (RMS) are available to purchase, once your production has been licensed. You will need the 5 digit licence reference number (see above). An RMS contains (with exceptions, see below) the script and...
  • Royalty Quotation Form
    £0.00 Royalty Quotation Form
    The rights to perform and record for all the titles in our catalogue (with exceptions) are managed by Stagescripts Ltd. A royalty fee must be paid: whether the play is presented for charity or for...
  • Backing Tracks (Rehearsal)
    £0.00 Backing Tracks (Rehearsal)
    Sets of Backing Tracks on CD (or 2 x CD for some titles) to use during rehearsals only. The price will be shown after you select the title required.



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