NODA Report
(The Addams Family - 2014)


INTO THE WOODS
The Willow Tree Theatre Company
New Hall
December, 2015

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.