Into the Woods performed by The Company, a national Youth Theatre group, features classic fairytale characters but with dark twists and turns. This production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony award winning musical exudes youthful enthusiasm and energy.
The musical tells the tale of a baker and his wife, cursed by the witch next door, as they try to follow their dream of having a child. To do this they must enter the woods, where their lives become entwined with familiar fairytale characters including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. All of the characters ruthlessly set about to achieve their own dreams, only later realising the true consequences of their actions.
The whole cast are excellent, with special mentions to Rebecca Ridout as the Baker’s wife, Rupert Henderson as Jack and Megan Gilbert as Little Red Riding Hood. The comical song "Agony" performed by the Princes, played by Chris and Andy Morgan is well received by the audience.
The Company make use of their strong ensemble cast throughout. The narrator role is cleverly split between a number of storytellers, allowing more members of the ensemble to display their skills. The creative choreography by Lee Crowley adds some nice touches, especially the bird, tree and tower scenes.
The costumes and staging, obviously on a budget are simple and there are a few minor lighting issues, however this does not majorly distract. The simplicity allows the audience to focus on the actors who develop their characters, particularly in the second half, where the youngsters really come into their own and showcase their versatility.
Overall, this a great production by future stars, and this spirited version of Into the Woods may leave you thinking about what happily ever after really means!