Into the Woods JR

In this abridged version of Into the Woods I wasn’t sure if the ‘junior’ part would refer to the length or the audience appropriateness of the play. As it turns out, the one-act version of the Stephen Sondheim musical is designed to be more appropriate for young performers.

A strong amateur production of Sondheim’s modern musical classic.

While it reaches its conclusion swiftly in an hour and 10 minutes, happily it doesn’t suffer under the compression of the stories as the key plot points demonstrating the duelling quests of the characters.

Into the Woods reimagines and mashes together well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, all wrapped up in the tale of a baker and his wife who want a child but must first appease a witch so she will lift her curse from the baker’s family. While the baker is the central protagonist, this is an ensemble piece. It’s a great show for amateur and community theatre groups because of its large cast and the variety of roles.

I found it difficult to pinpoint just what had been cut from the full-length version; it seems much of the Wolf’s storyline, as well as the plot involving the giants up Jack’s beanstalk. I did notice some changes to the order of events, a reduction in ‘adult themes’ and not as much carnage.

While there was some inconsistency of performance, with some singers too soft in places or off-pitch, Accidentally On Purpose delivers an enjoyable production. The baker has an exceptional singing voice and with his determined wife, the two deliver strong performances. The two flamboyant, posing princes are very funny although at times they overplay too much. A squealing, unenthusiastic Cinderella is a lot of fun to watch – and sings well – despite the lack of character growth in the script. I also enjoyed Cinderella’s stepmother, with the performer doing much with a reasonably small role. The big bad wolf, appearing as a puppet, was very entertaining.

In all, a strong amateur production of Sondheim’s modern musical classic by some talented young performers.

Reviews by Emma Gibson

theSpace @ Venue45

Love and Information by Caryl Churchill

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The Blurb

‘Princes wait there in the world, it’s true. Princes, yes, but wolves and humans, too’. We know Cinderella loves the prince, Little Red Riding Hood is innocent and that it’s important not to climb beanstalks, right? Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods turns these stories on their heads re-imagining some of the most loved fairy tale characters. In this version, suitable for young and old, we join the Baker, his wife, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red, Jack, the Witch, Princes, cows, giants, stepsisters and a golden hen on an adventure Into the Woods to find their ever-after.

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