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Play review: Crowd is WOWED at KTG's 'Wind in the Willows'

September 9th, 2015 10:48 am by Samltzy Swartz, community contributor

Play review: Crowd is WOWED at KTG's 'Wind in the Willows'

David Kinsler(William the horse), Sean Read (Badger), Rebecca Hartman (rat), Krista Billings (Mole) and Jessica Hutchison (Mr. Toad)

Kingsport Theatre guild has certainly come a long way in a short time.

Located in The Renaissance Center, and presenting Wind in the Willows through next weekend, KTG continues to create something special.

This play has a train, a carriage, a live horse. and multiple auto accidents. ALSO: There is a boat floating on stage. Yes! A boat. It flows down the river and through the fog looking for Portly (Noah Hartman), the lost baby otter, before flowing down the ramp.

It doesn't matter that you can see the feet guiding it. It still floats along and brings you into the world Kenneth Grahame envisioned when he wrote the classic children's book in 1908.

This play gives a much better experience than Disney World's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," the auto car adventure of the same Mr. Toad who is starring in this play. And star she does. Jessica Hutchison Is fantastic in her portrayal as Toad, who carries the whole story with her self indulgent compulsions (BOOP BOOP).

The whole cast is wonderfully tight as they interact and the live music is above par, and extra special, for a community show.

Apparently musical director Angie Marshall has recently had a death in the family but felt the need to fulfill her responsibility to the cast. Brava.

The Mole, played by Krista Billings, is delightfully playful and genuinely happy. We are all glad that she gave up spring cleaning for a stroll by the river.

Badger is perfectly played and an excellent contrast to the joyful Mole. Badger (Sean Read) is gruff enough to dislike but likable enough to be forgiven his gruffness as he plots to help Mr. Toad solve his problems.

I must point out the river fairy (Abi Bell) who brings Portly back. She sings a solo that is worthy of a much larger stage.

I could go through each of the 52 members of the cast but have not the space.

I do have enough space to write that if you miss this play, you have missed a lot.

The next play that KTG will produce is "To Kill a Mockingbird" and will, no doubt, raise quite a stir. Visit Kingsporttheatre.org.

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