After being dispatched to the picturesque Sunnymead Meadow to watch Creation Theatre’s outdoor performance of The Wind in the Willows, my nine year old and I didn’t really know what to expect.
It turns out that what awaited us was the most enchanting and captivating 45 minutes of escapism, much needed after the last theatre-less 18 months of restrictions.
We were issued with a map upon arrival in Cutteslowe, which guided us around the meadow, ensuring that we visited the right characters in the right order.
This is a very interactive show, adapted and directed by Helen Eastman, with each cast member asking the audience (small “bubbles” of 5/6 people who set off at 10 minute intervals) to safely deliver a message to the next.
We meet Hare first, lurking in a gap in the hedge to start us off in the right direction. Moley (Claire Redcliffe) is next who warned us about bumping into a pesky Weasel as we move on to meet Ratty (Lasharne Anderson) in her rowing boat.
She serenades us beautifully while we play hook a duck, then it’s off to meet Rabbit Washerwoman (Lola Boulter), fresh from aiding Toad to escape from prison.
She sends us off with an important message for Badger (Al Barclay), who intercepts us on the pathway, and begins to train us, the troops, ready for battle at Toad Hall.
There ensues some fun and games on the river bank. We are dispatched, fully briefed, to Toad Hall, where a furious battle between Mr Toad (Guy Clark) and the Evil Weasel (Andy Owens) takes place. Neerdless to say Toad is (eventually) the victor, and we are then sent to our final stop of the evening – a full debrief with the local journo, Hal Hedgehog (Stanley Thomas).
We realised that we had been so fully invested in the evening’s activities that the performance had flown by. It was a truly magical way to spend the evening messing about near the river.
Creation Theatre’s Immersive Story Trail Of The Wind In The Willows runs at Sunnymead Meadow, Oxford Until August 8. Book at 01865 766266, online at www.creationtheatre.co.uk or just click the banner advert at the top!