Edwardian tale given a modern twist with a hip-hop style

PUBLISHED: 10:17 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:18 30 January 2019

Clive Rowe as Badger. Picture: Michael Wharley

Clive Rowe as Badger. Picture: Michael Wharley

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT MICHAEL WHARLEY

Show incorporates British Sign Language into its hip-hop dance choreography

Matt Knight, who plays Chief Weasel. Picture: Michael WharleyMatt Knight, who plays Chief Weasel. Picture: Michael Wharley

An extraordinary hip-hop musical based on The Wind in the Willows comes to the Northcott Theatre in Exeter next month.

In The Willows also incorporates British Sign Language into its choreography, making it suitable for people with impaired hearing.

The classic children’s story by Keith Grahame has been brought popping and locking into the 21st century, with epic show tunes, spectacular street dance and killer beats.

It stars the Olivier Award winner Clive Rowe (Tracey Beaker) as Badger, deaf street dancer Chris Fonseca (The Greatest Dancer) as Otter, Seann Miley Moore (X Factor) as Duck and Matt Knight (Let It Shine) as Chief Weasel.

Director Poppy Burton-Morgan. Picture: Michael WharleyDirector Poppy Burton-Morgan. Picture: Michael Wharley

Not surprisingly, the original Edwardian plot has also been brought up to date. It is Mole’s first day at a school, The Willows, and the other kids look rough and scary. Streetwise hip-hop cool girl Rattie, rich car-loving Toad and cheeky Otter teach her the ways of the Riverbank, and she hopes the wise Mr Badger will look out for her. But when Toad gets locked up for joyriding, the Weasel Clan break into his (lily) pad, the Pool Hall. It is now only a matter of time before Chief Weasel reveals Mole’s dark secret.

The show is being produced by Metta Theatre and the Northcott. Metta were behind a street-dance Jungle Book and a circus-musical Little Mermaid, and are known for combining emotionally powerful performances with imaginative theatricality and striking visual style.

In the Willows is choreographed by Rhimes Lecointe with music by award-winning composer Pippa Cleary.

Hearing-impaired audience members will enjoy the elements of British Sign Language in the hip-hop dancing, and the performance of Chris Fonseca, who is deaf in both ears. He dances with the aid of a cochlear implant in one ear and the feeling of musical vibrations through his body.

Clive Rowe as Badger. Picture: Michael WharleyClive Rowe as Badger. Picture: Michael Wharley

For audience members with visual impairment, there is also an audio-described performance, preceded by a touch tour.

With ballads, beats, and backflips, this fresh new musical will be fun for the whole family.

The show runs from Friday, February 22 until Saturday, March 2. The audio-described performance is the matinee on Saturday 2. Tickets are on sale at the Northcott Theatre box office.

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