Toad’s adventures brought to stage

River's Edge Theatre Society will bring "Toad of Toad Hall" to stage in Grand Forks

The River’s Edge Theatre Society will bring a classic rendition of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows to life in February.

A.A. Milne, best known for Winnie the Pooh scripted a stage version based on Grahame’s novel titled Toad of Toad Hall. The tale features the memorable characters Toad, Rat, Badger and Mole.

Celebrating its 20th production year, River’s Edge, which was actually created 21 years ago, felt the need to mark the occasion with a large production.

“River’s Edge does have a history of doing a range of productions because we like to diversify,” said Director Mary Ann Westaway. “We wanted to do a show that was celebratory in spirit and we did want to involve a larger cast and more people and have something with a bit more glitz and visual appeal.”

The cast consists of 22 members, ranging in age from six to 73, and will play 31 different characters.

Though the play is not considered a musical, there will be music and dancing.

Toad of Toad Hall was chosen partially because of its general appeal to all ages.

“I remember looking at different scripts and eventually I nailed it down to this one,” stated Westaway. “It had a lot to do with our experiences with our children, as well as a story that we loved as much plus something that adults would love. We were laughing way harder than the kids on most of the sections.”

The play, which incorporates half of the original novel, follows Toad’s caravan and car adventures, and his escapades with his friends.

“It’s a story with heart, and fun and I think it will definitely appeal to all ages,” Westaway laughed. “I’m trying to encourage adults who think it’s just for kids – it isn’t.”

Westaway added that Toad, played by Gary Smith, would be seen walking around the city of Grand Forks and stopping by businesses.

“We’re hoping to have our Toad go about town and they’ll have a contest for free tickets for opening night,” she said. “Watch for Toad on his tour about town.”

There will be four shows starting on Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at Gallery 2 or at the door. For adults, tickets are $15, $10 for students and $40 for a family pass.