By Tracey Matthies

IT was a triumphant post-COVID return to community theatre for Lyric Theatre with its staging of The Wind in the Willows at Mossvale Park.

Young field mice sang Christmas carols in front of Toad Hall.

The outdoor setting meant the cast, in their elaborate costumes and masks, and crew had to deal with heatwave temperatures over the weekend through to forecasts of heavy rain for today’s final performances, but the audience wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Initially capped at 100 per show, tickets sold out quickly, and late releases of an extra 50 tickets per show as COVID restrictions eased, were also snapped up.

Young and not-so-young audience members were encouraged to don rabbit ears and participate as assistant rabbits, while many sang along with some of the production’s better-known songs.

Lyric stalwart, director/artistic director Colin Mitchell watched over all like a proud father.

The lush Mossvale Park setting was ideal for this magical tale of anthromorphised forest animals described as an elegant parable about the dangers of decadent country-house living in the face of powerful revolutionary forces.

Field Mouse Eliza Stein and Ratty (Murray Maclean) after the show.

Bruce Grainger (Badger), Murray Mclean (Ratty), Daniel Lawrie (Toad), Brad Beach (Mole), Keegan Just (Warren Rabbit), Lawrie Fildes (Roger Weasel) and Kerrie Giles (The Widow Vixen) headed up a strong cast of local talent supported by a host of young performers as Weasel’s Assistants, Field Mice and members of the Duck family.

Sunday’s performances saw many of the cast turn to ice vests under their heavyweight costumes and while, no doubt, they would have been keen to shed those costumes after their final bows, all took the time to mingle and chat with the audience.

Photo opportunities abounded!

Upcoming Lyric Theatre productions for 2021 include Ladies in Black and Bogg’s Show.