Music: George Stiles. Lyrics: Anthony Drewe. Book: Julian Fellowes. Direction: Rachel Kavanaugh. Musical Direction: Simon Lee. Choreography: Aletta Collins. London Paladium Production 2017. Streaming free on The Shows Must Go On. 29-30 October 2020.
If I were giving out stars then I’d have to say this would be a three out of five and that’s generous. When I reviewed the original cast recording in 2018 I found it ‘proficient, but unfortunately tediously twee,’ and I’m afraid viewing it live doesn’t make me want to change that opinion. Kenneth Graham’s 1908 book about the bucolic river life of Ratty, Badger and Mole, has been loved for generations, but for this adaptation Julian Fellowes lacks his Downton Abbey mojo, with not one quotable line in the entire show.