This year, Christmas has seemed to come faster than most. (I’m not ready.) And the current events in our country remind me to make every moment with my kids a quality one. If only I could slow down time….or make it freeze for a few minutes….. don’t we all feel that way, especially now? There is something about live theatre that does just that. Last Saturday, we visited the Two River Theater for a very special Wind in the Willows Christmas and time did stand still. Within minutes of sitting in our seats, eyes fixed on the incredibly-crafted stage, Mole had brought us into his world and we were joining him on his journey to find a home and make friends.
Based on the children’s classic and told through song, A Wind in the Willows Christmas is a new version of the beloved story. Join Mole, the Water Rat, Dr. Badger and Mr. Toad on their adventures, as they discover that home is where your friends are!
We have not read the Wind in the Willow books, but that will quickly change. After leaving the show, my 8 year old was determined to find them at the library. (He wanted me to buy him a copy that night, which you can do before or after the show.) We all enjoyed the show very much. In fact, my same 8 year old was trying to come up with new titles for the show. He feels that the Wind in the Willows Christmas title does not accurately reflect how good the show is.
The Two River Theater is impressive. It’s large enough to hold a nice size crowd but still small enough that every seat in the house felt like a good one. Plus since it’s not in the ‘city’ finding it in Red Bank is easy and parking is free.
In the Wind in the Willows Christmas mole thinks he has no ‘real’ home or friends. He begins a journey for ‘Harmony Creek’ where he believes everything will be perfect. Along the way, he must learn to trust others, face his fears, and discover what home really is. The actors take on the animal roles of Mrs. Otter, Mr. Toad, Rat, Weasel, Rabbit, Mole, Dr. Badger, and Little Portly each infusing their characters’ personalities into their performances. All of the characters were just amazing. Their acting, their voices, had the audience on the edge of their seats. I wish I could have taken a picture. My 4 year old’s eyes were glued to the stage.
The show is recommended for children ages 5 and older because of one potentially scary scene. When Mole decides to go off into the willows at night, alone, in search of Harmony Creek, he is forced to face his fears. They show up as ‘monsters’ creeping around him. They never hurt him. Instead they vocalize the fears he is having inside about himself, the dark, etc. The ‘monsters’ are other actors caped in moss and grass. They use green lights for their eyes. In the question and answer session after the show, it was all explained to the kids. The actors showed the audience how they made the transformation. That was enough to help my kids understand it and there were no nightmares.
We loved A Wind in the Willows Christmas. The scenery, the characters, the songs complimented each other well to provide us with these important messages.
- Home – Home can be anywhere as long as you have your friends with you.
- Friendship – It’s about being there for each other. Valuing what’s special about each other and not being jealous if someone can do something better than you. We all have our strengths.
- Safety – Don’t wander through the dark or go on journeys without a friend.
- Self-esteem – Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams. If you aren’t happy, speak up for yourself. Have courage to be more than you thought you were.
- Trust – Trust in others to show them what is special about you. Learn what’s special about them. Let them guide you on new journeys.
- Greed – Too many things doesn’t make one happy.
- Christmas – Christmas isn’t about lights and bells or presents, it’s about spending time with those we love.
- Faith – This little song seemed to really hit a home. Here’s a few words.
“Have a little faith.
Don’t give in to fear.
Time to meet the challenge heart and soul.
Journey bravely on
though the way’s unclear.
Learn to trust beyond what we can see,
believing there’s the possibility
a little faith can lead you
where you need to be.”
During each Wind in the Willows performance the following free activities are available for kids
- Before the show
- Photo Station
- Creation Station – there were at least 3 projects for kids to make
- Two Trains Running – train display
- Question & Answer session – Children were able to ask the actors & stage crew questions about the performance and how certain things happen.
This holiday season this is a show you want to see! A Wind in the Willows Christmas is playing until December 30, 2012 with special daytime performances next week. Give tickets as a gift & take the kids on one of their days off from school.
To see our pictures from Opening Night of the Wind in the Willows Christmas visit our Facebook Gallery.
Visit this link or call 732 – 345-1400 to buy your tickets.
A Wind in the Willows Christmas
December 8, 2012 – December 30, 2012
Based on the Novel by Kenneth Grahame
Music by Mike Reid Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger Book by Mindi Dickstein
Music Direction by James Sampliner
Directed by Amanda Dehnert
JOAN AND ROBERT RECHNITZ THEATER
Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey
In full disclosure this post is being sponsored by Two River Theater. Two River Theater is a Jersey Family Fun Partner in Fun, they are providing payment for ads and sponsored articles.