Kingston appears to have stepped it up a notch for the festivities this year – rows of chalets leading to a Christmas market, an Alpine Village, a fantabulous tree and, the icing on the cake, this season’s offering at the Rose Theatre.
When Mole pops up on the riverbank in search of adventure he immediately befriends Ratty who, in turn, introduces him to the rest of the friendly woodland creatures. But dark deeds are afoot as the weasels and stoats prepare to wrest Toad Hall from its gullible owner, and it falls on the gang to save the day. Fast-paced, engaging, with short catchy tunes, there is no time for the little ones in the audience to get bored. They’ll be open-mouthed as boats drift one way across the stage and cars speed the other, and giggle away at Jamie Baughan’s car-obsessed Toad and his ‘poop poop’ jokes (although the adults get their share of laughs too). Timothy Bird’s simple set design is effortlessly transformed from The Riverbank to Badger’s set to Toad Hall and so on with brilliant projections. Ciaran McConville’s direction finally brings the Rose’s youth theatre to the fore, from which the likes of Kitten Rabbit, Chief Weasel, The Hedgehogs and Doris Doormouse are cast – a great move which makes the production such a success.
The Rose has blown hot and cold over the last few years but this, without doubt, is its best ever Christmas show – an absolute joy for all ages.