Into the Woods
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
RNCM Studio Theatre, 19 February 2011
Sondheim’s musical blends together several fairy tales to create a potent brew.
The moral of the work, apparently, is that in order to live life aright you must face your fears by going ‘into the woods’, alone. There is also the lyric that goes something like ‘A thing is all it’s needed for / And others may need it more’; and so on.
This was a student production but that is a byword for quality as far as the RNCM is concerned. One performer who caught the eye was Nicola Stone as Little Red Riding Hood, here played as a very cutesy and clever goody two-shoes. Her sometime consort, The Wolf (Christopher Jones), howled for his supper with aplomb. And the two princes who came a-courting (Rapunzel’s and Cinderella’s, played respectively by Sam Lea and Harry Meredith) were immensely amusing. Sam Lea in particular showed an exquisite comedic timing and a kind of fey stillness after he delivered his song. That’s how he got his laughs.
The central figure of Lewis Booth’s set, a tree/castle-tower/beanstalk, was a transformative device of great power and there was an inventive use of props: the watering-can hen being a surrealist object in itself…
Perhaps the costume I liked best was a pink and white number that one of Cinderella’s sisters wore. As in Charles Perrault’s source story, both sisters had bits of their foot hacked off in an effort to make it fit the slipper. It is good to see an author’s original work respected; albeit was a little gruesome in this case.
After all had been told, an enchanting evening’s entertainment.