WHO would have thought that a children’s book published in 1908 and first adapted for the stage as Toad Of Toad Hall in 1929 would still be a hit in 2017?

This musical adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame novel, directed by James Weisz, stays very close to the original narrative, with the anthropomorphised animal characters befitting of a bygone era.

Mole (Natalie Sexton), Ratty (Thomas Hewitt) and Badger (Paul Brangan) make for an assorted team of personalities, while Chief Weasel Pip Henderson is terrific as the villain adversary from the dark wild woods. The performance also involves child actors as weasels as well as the gaoler’s daughter, train driver and horse, who all perform with professionalism and impeccable comic timing.

However, Harry Hart steals the show with his portrayal of the rather ludicrously pompous and outlandishly extravagant self-named The handsome and popular Toad, with his comically green, rotund form and his wily ways. He shines in his song Indestructible Toad with the lyrics “More nuts than Nero, but quite the British hero”.

The performance is full of song from beginning to end, from the opening Right Here On The River Bank as Ratty and Mole picnic, to Peace At Last Has Cured The Past as the creatures reconcile their differences at the Toad Hall banquet and conclude: “Now we can share.”

The vocabulary is reminiscent of an Enid Blyton era of la-di-da riverside picnics and therefore incompatible and a bit trying for young contemporary ears – it’s not really a show for the very young. The scenery is simple but the horse and cart and train scenes are imaginatively performed with musical rhythm.

For Toad’s adventures in his carriage and eventual return to Toad Hall, the outside setting is ideal to complement the air of country-life nostalgia.