Matchbox Children’s Theatre goes for mad adventures in ‘Mr. Toad’

Published 6:10 am Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mr. Toad’s latest craze is motorcars. Unfortunately, he is a horrible driver. Really, he is just terrible, but that does not stop him from doing whatever is necessary to get behind the wheel. Of course, this gets him into a great deal of trouble. His caring friends Badger, Rat and Mole do their best to help, but will their efforts be enough?

Anyone who wants to know the rest will have to see it happen live at the Historic Paramount Theatre this weekend. Matchbox Children’s Theatre presents “Mr. Toad’s Mad Adventures” Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.

“It is a really, really fun show,” said the production’s director and local attorney Cameron Davis.

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“Mr. Toad’s Mad Adventures” is based on the 1908 book The Wind and The Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

It was first adapted for the stage in 1939 as “Toad of Toad Hall” by A.A. Mine. The beloved tale has since been a television show, a Disney movie, musical film and even an action movie.

Matchbox Theatre presents an adaptation by Vera Morris.

The humorous story follows four animal characters — Toad, Rat, Badger and Mole — on their adventures, naturally.

Davis’ cast of about 26 child and adult actors includes some familiar faces.

Jenny Dryer plays the road-obsessed Mr. Toad. She was recently seen as the grandmother in Matchbox’s “Nick Tickle” last November.

Megan Poczes plays Rat and Brenna Nordeng plays Mole.

Davis even persuaded his co-worker at Hoversten, Johnson, Beckmann and Hovey, LLP, attorney Craig Byram, to audition for the play. Byram, who used to do children’s theater as a youth, plays Badger.

Davis’ 8-year-old daughter Kylee plays a neighborhood kid in the play. She was also in “Nick Tickle.”

“I think she is very good, and she’s really enjoying it,” Davis said.

Entire families are encouraged to attend the show this weekend, even the little ones, Davis said.

“We welcome all kids. It’s a kids’ show. You don’t have to worry if your 4-year-old is a fidgeter, or your 3-year-old won’t sit down. That’s what’s so nice about children’s theatre. There will be a lot of kids doing that,” Davis said.

Plus, he said, the play promises to be entertaining and energetic. So, more serious audience members should not be too distracted by those such younger viewers.

Matchbox Children’s Theatre presents “Mr. Toad’s Mad Adventures” at the Historic Paramount Theatre, 125 Fourth Ave. NE, Nov. 13 through Nov. 15. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children under 14. Tickets available at Hy-Vee, Sterling Main Street or at the door.