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Shaka Cook in The Wind in the Willows

Home > Melbourne > Community Theatre | Indoor | Performing Arts | Theatre | July
by Hanford (subscribe)
Hanford is a piano teacher and freelance accompanist. Visit his website at
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“It's not the sort of night for bed, anyhow”
This adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, a classic by Kenneth Grahame, features Shaka Cook as the only cast member.

shaka cook
Shaka Cook stars in the one man show

Brought together by Darebin Arts Loud Mouth and La Boite Theatre Company, Maxine Mellor's theatrical revision graces the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre as part of a national tour.

darebin arts and entertainment centre
A 5 minute stroll from Bell railway station

Performance on the 14th July, Friday 3pm

There were approximately 400 audience members, many of which were young children between 4-12. The walls and seats are shades of maroon, clean and comfortable.

darebin arts and entertainment centre
Nearing 3pm

Waiting for the show to begin, the stage was set with props covered by cloth to hide the surprises and the sound system filled the stage with sounds of water and crickets chirping. This ambient noise morphs to augment whatever scene is playing out on stage and helps set the atmosphere and tone right from the beginning. Daniel Edmonds is to be commended for his attention to detail.

Dressed in a silly costume of an arrow adorned onesie and a striped jacket, Shaka was neutral enough to play his characters interchangeably while still remaining interesting enough for the theatre to keep its eyes on him. He narrates the story as rambunctious Mr.Toad and complements his imaginary cast with Ratty, a refined and posh poet; Mole, a shy and timid creature; and Badger, a gruff and unsociable recluse. The main character is Mr. Toad whom the story revolves around. His three friends depart on an adventure with him where he learns much about himself.

Shaka set out his characters carefully, making sure that each had its own distinct personality and manner of speech. This helped the audience to grasp which characters were being played at every moment when Shaka switched rapidly between them during scenes of chaos.

Juxtaposition of scenes and the equally contrasting choices in sound design highlight the euphoric joys and sinking sadness which greatly affected the audience. In this respect, adults with an imagination would highly appreciate the art that is Kat Henry's direction.

shaka cook
Charismatic and intelligent performance

The songs and audience participation activities ensured that the children were kept engaged with the show and the interaction escalated to a finale where all the members of the audience threw a sock onto the stage!

A charismatic performance by Shaka Cook wherein he teaches us that everything should be done in moderation so that we may be like "sensible Mr. Toad"!

Hanford was invited as a guest

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Why? School holiday children's show
When: 14th and 15th July 2017
Phone: 8470 8280
Where: Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre
Cost: $15-$25
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