A riverside welcome from Sir Kenneth Branagh

Sir Kenneth BranaghOur patron, Sir Kenneth Branagh, welcomes you to Caversham Court Gardens for Wind in the Willows

Hello everyone, and welcome to a fresh chance with a classic story, to do some ‘messing about on the river’.

There was never a more apt tale to present in the open air than The Wind In The Willows, given that most of the characters extol the virtues of the outdoor life - even if it does come at the price of some hair-raising, funny and exhilarating adventures.

Kenneth Grahame’s triumph is in capturing the riverbank as something so magical and silly and poignant all at once, and with such gusto and affection as to make you feel you really know, and truly love this remarkable family of characters - Moley, and Ratty and Badger, and all of their friends and foes, especially their incorrigible pal, the unforgettable Mr Toad.

I once played this character on stage, in Reading, at my old school Meadway Comprehensive. Possibly the best thing to be said about my performance was that I had very convincing green coloured skin. This makeup was not something I had chosen to explain to my mother, who didn’t appreciate that I couldn’t clean it off very easily after the performance. Nor did she appreciate the toad coloured duvet that resulted.

Rat, Toad, MoleNo such accidents tonight - except for the beautiful surprises that always come with live theatre, especially in the open air, in an English summer.

Progress Theatre have come up with a wonderful and novel telling of the story for this, their much anticipated summer show, full of energy and invention, so please, enjoy the show, enjoy a picnic, and enjoy that ancient old river that flows before your very eyes tonight, all the way down to Pangbourne where Kenneth Grahame lived, and saw it pass, and imagined a story that has entranced the world ever since.

Thank you for your support for Progress - please have a wonderful evening!

Kenneth Branagh - July 2017