Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Mr Badger Tells The Story Of ‘The Wind In The Willows’

Adelaide Fringe, Carrick Hill, Splash Theatre Company, Chris John, Kenneth Grahame, children’s classics,


Presented by Splash Theatre Company

Reviewed: 22 February 2020

Growing up with a mother who was a teacher-librarian, classic stories such as The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame were a staple part of my upbringing. As a child I have very vivid memories of attending a production of The Wind In The Willows at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens in an interactive setting, where the cast were scattered throughout the gardens and the audience would be lead around meeting different characters as the story unfolded.

Now as a parent, I wanted to share a similar experience with my four-year-old daughter and Mr Badger Tells The Story Of ‘The Wind In The Willows”, presented by Splash Productions, certainly did not disappoint.

Set in the stunning grounds of Carrick Hill, it was the perfect setting for this production. The audience met at the courtyard of the main house and were escorted to a shady lawned area, where we found Mr Badger, played by Chris John, sound asleep in his old wicker chair.
The interactive ‘waking up’ of Mr Badger was a sure hit with the children; however, the pace fell a little flat after this as he went through an introduction of the story, but was quickly recovered once Mr Badger began telling the actual story.

This was a condensed telling of the original text, but it managed to keep the charm and nuances of Kenneth Grahame’s original book. There were dioramas and caricatures used as visual aids throughout the performance, but at times they seemed a little too small to be seen by the whole audience.

Chris John’s Mr Badger was lively, animated and engaging. His story telling abilities were excellent, and his tactful way of dealing with ‘know-it-all’ children in the audience was amazing. His accent was very believable and faultless – to the point I was rather surprised at the end of the performance when he spoke in his natural voice!

Mr Badger Tells The Story Of The Wind In The Willows made for a wonderful morning out. I highly recommend this production to families. It was a fantastic way to introduce children to a classic story, and to the majestic Carrick Hill grounds. Take a picnic lunch so you can continue to explore the gardens after the production – Carrick Hill certainly has a lot to offer and explore.

Reviewed by Ben Stefanoff

Rating out of 5: 4

Venue: meet near front of main house at Carrick Hill

Season: 7 & 8 March, 14 & 15 March 2020

Duration: 40 mins

Tickets: $15


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