I had the pleasure of seeing City Lit’s production of Wind in the Willows last week. The production is quite strong and features one of the more talented and well-balanced musical theatre ensembles I’ve seen in Chicago Storefront. The play is a revival of a script that City Lit used as their holiday show in the 80’s. For the most part the story plays well, but in the end it is really more suited to a children’s theatre audience than a straight-up adult production.
The greatest delight of watching this particular performance was seeing the three or four year-old boy bouncing up and down in his first-row seat. His giggles of delight made the rest of the audience engage in the performance that much more for we all began to see the show through his eyes. It suddenly became harder to separate actors for characters. Acting moments (especially the bigger, funnier ones) became more enjoyable and believable. I think it sparked the actors into finding moments and energies they hadn’t realized before. The show started to work the way it was intended to.