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Casting has been announced for the world premiere of new musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows by Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe; Rufus Hound is ‘Toad’,  Fra Fee is ‘Mole’, Thomas Howes is Ratty and Neil McDermott is ‘Chief Weasel’.

Jamie Hendry and MJE Productions, in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, have announced the casting for the major new musical theatre adaptation of The Wind in The Willows, opening at Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 8th October 2016 before heading to The Lowry on its world premiere tour.

Comedian, actor and presenter Rufus Hound will star as the lovable menace Mr Toad in this highly-anticipated new musical production alongside Irish actor and singer Fra Fee as Mole, Downton Abbey’s Thomas Howes as Ratty, EastEnders bad-boy and Shrek star Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs Otter with further casting still to be announced.

The full cast will include Rakesh Boury, Courtney Bowman, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, James Gant, Evan James, Graham Lappin, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Dylan Mason, Emma Odell, Ryan Pidgen, Patrick Sullivan, Karli Vale, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Holly Willock.

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, The Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbeycreator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Fellowes, Stiles and Drewe previously collaborated together on the hugely successful international hit musical Mary Poppins which ran for three years in the West End and six years on Broadway and on a new version of Half a Sixpence, soon to open at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Rufus Hound says: “I – like so many of us – was weaned on The Wind in the Willows, so this is an incredibly special opportunity. Bringing these adventures to a brand new audience is almost as exciting as a gleaming new motorcar. Roll on rehearsals! Poop poop!”

Julian Fellowes says: “This new adaptation has been such a joy to write, and we have pulled together a really marvellous array of extraordinary talent in casting the production. I’ve no doubt that our actors are going to have the time of their lives taking these memorable characters on the journey from page to stage. I hope and believe the Audience will have a lot of fun!”

Jamie Hendry says: “I’m thrilled to announce such a wonderful cast of actors led by Rufus Hound as the thrill-seeking lovable menace Mr Toad. Developing this production has been immensely enjoyable and I can’t wait to bring the cast together as we start rehearsals this summer!”

Rufus Hound is an actor, presenter and comedian, most recently seen on stage in Don Quixote (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Wars of the Roses(Rose Theatre) and as Freddy in the original West End production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre). Additional theatre credits include Neville’s Island (Chichester Festival Theatre), One Man Two Guv’nors (UK Tour / Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Utopia (Soho Theatre). Television credits include Doctor Who (BBC), Cucumber (Channel 4), Drunk History (Comedy Central), A Touch Of Cloth (SKY) and Hounded (BBC). He is also a regular guest on comedy panel shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC), Would I Lie To You? (BBC), and 8 Out Of 10 Cats (Channel 4).

Fra Fee most notably played the role of Courfeyrac in Tom Hooper’s box office hit movie Les Misérables. Theatre credits include As You Like It (National Theatre), The Last Five Years (Lyric Theatre, Belfast); Romeo & Juliet (Gate Theatre); Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory); Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre) and Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre).

Thomas Howes is best known for his role as footman Thomas in Downton Abbey. Stage work includes The Lighthouse (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group), The Mousetrap (UK Tour), The Winslow Boy (Theatre Royal Bath) andThe History Boys (UK Tour). Further screen credits include films Anna Kareninaand United and television work in Houdini and Doyle (ITV) and Dark Angel(ITV).

Neil McDermott is most known for portraying Ryan Malloy in EastEnders(BBC). Stage credits include playing Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical(Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Jean-Michel in La Cage Aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Rolf Gruber in The Sound of Music (London Palladium). Further television credits include The Royal (ITV), Casualty (BBC) and Doctor Who: The Next Doctor (BBC).

Produced by Jamie Hendry and MJE Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, The Wind in the Willows is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with design by Peter McKintosh, choreography by Aletta Collins, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Gareth Owen and musical supervision by Simon Lee.

Kenneth Grahame’s wild tale about the thrill-seeking Mr Toad comes to life in a brand new stage musical. Ratty, Badger and Mole join the exuberant Toad and embark on a series of adventures and misadventures caused by his insatiable need for speed! Imprisoned for theft and with his existence under threat from the inhabitants of the Wild Wood, Toad must attempt a daring escape to defend Toad Hall. Featuring spectacular stagecraft and a company of over fifty, this sparkling new musical with a glorious original score brings this treasured British classic to life in what is set to be 2016’s wildest theatrical adventure.

Listings Information
The Wind In The Willows
Thu 27 October – Sun 6 November
Times: 7:30pm, Sat 29 Oct, Sun 20 Oct, Wed 2 Nov, Sat 5 Nov & Sun 6 Nov, 2pm
Tickets: Visit the website for ticket prices.
Lyric Theatre

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