WHAT happens if you take Wind in the Willows, as transformed and adapted by Alan Bennett, then give it a little ‘Peaky Blinders’ swagger for good measure?

Find out at The Norbury in Droitwich this week, thanks to the Norbury Players, who will be firing on all cylinders for a second run of their latest production, which is going down a storm.

First time director, Alex Stallard, aged 23, said: “The Alan Bennett adaptation of the much beloved Kenneth Grahame story, The Wind in the Willows, follows the classic story very closely and mixes beautifully with Bennett’s witticisms and writing traits, making for a truly wonderful experience to direct and perform, for myself and all of the cast.

“As with the original story, the play follows Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger through their adventures with Toad’s motorcars, a caravan, a railway train and more. For a first time project it has been nerve-wracking but a really enjoyable experience that has taught me so much as a director.”

Alex, of course, is a familiar face with the Norbury Players, having been a Player for seven years. But having performed in The History Boys, also by Bennett, and which he said was “a brilliant play to be part of”, he was keen to get into the director’s chair for the first time, for another Bennett offering.

It was a big task, because there are 24 people in the cast, “aged from eight to 70”. But what has Alex brought to the table, to bring the production before a 21st century audience?

He said: “There's a little bit of contemporary costume, but it’s mainly set in the 1920s, with the Wild Wooders as characters who might not be out of place in Peaky Blinders!”

Alex has also turned a creative eye on the setting of the show. In the Grahame original, it’s all very Thames valley and Home Counties.

But Alex said: “There are a lot of different accents - not just those of the Thames valley. There are also songs. We say it’s a stage play with music."

The second run is from tomorrow, May 9 until Saturday, May 11.

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