INTO THE WOODS
The Willow Tree Theatre Company
Director: Jo Wilson-Hunt
M.D: Simon Carter
Choreography: Debbie Sherman
Sondheim’s visit into the world of fairy tales could be considered
an ambitious choice for any society! With
its complex stories and discordant music, as is usually the way of
Sondheim, this is a clever show requiring
the vision of an experienced director to fully recreate each aspect
of the production as intended by the
writer. The plot follows four main fairy tales, each interweaving,
changing the course of the characters’
lives, but not as we grew up knowing it!
From the start, this production enchanted all who were present, with
its beautiful fairy tale set, delightful
costumes and stunning lighting design that helped to create an aura
of mystery and magic throughout the stage.
Movement and staging created lovely visual pictures, allowing an
uninterrupted flow through each scene.
Each cast character needed to dig deep to fully demonstrate who they
were, as each represented an integral part
of the story, all named parts easily managed this without question.
Casting was as close to ideal as could be
wished for, in practically every case.
As the witch, Victoria Baldwin displayed ‘drama’ with no holds
barred, wringing every pore of emotion
into her performance, as did Katy Baker playing the baker’s wife,
Yes, the name is correct, I jest you not!
Along with her husband, they made a terrific duo, carrying the role
of core characters within the story with
ease. The baker’s wife added that necessary tender assertiveness
with a fine balance to her characterization,
as they travelled the woods, pilfering and acquiring the
items needed to enable them to become parents.
The two princes ranked amongst my favourite characters in the show,
their comedy timing being spot on. The
picture of them comically galloping around on their hobby horses
will stay with me for a long time!
Young Red, (Alice Wilson-Hunt in this performance) showed feisty,
scary and attitude as if second nature to
her, (surely not!) her exceptionally mature and controlled singing
was a pleasure to listen too.
Many a seasoned performer would be daunted by the difficulty of the
musical score but cast appeared to take it
all in their stride with some fine ensemble and solo work, evidence
of a conscientious M.D who kept the
difficult score together with apparent ease.
The strength of this production shone through the cast who worked as
a team, each individual on an equal
footing with the next, bringing an extraordinary amount of ability
and talent to their role.
Everything was there and in all the right places, bringing another
creditable production to the stage,
onwards and upwards may it continue.