Into the Woods Jr
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 10th Aug 2016
  • |
  • ★★★★

Though the second act is cut completely, half the first act also cut and music transposed into keys more accessible to younger voices, Into The Woods is still a sophisticated show for kids to tackle.

I’ve seen plenty of shows by a cast twice these guys average age this Fringe that can’t hold a candle to them.

Into The Woods Jr. certainly retains the flavour of it parent, even if the more risqué themes have been stripped away. Intermingling the well-known fairy tales of Jack & The Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapin (book) hinge the story on a baker and his wife who must collect objects from the forest at the behest of a witch who will release the infertility curse placed on their family should they succeed.

The Beacon Boy Players aged 10-13, throw a certain amount of chutzpa into this. Not least because of the lack of female members of the company requires a fair bit of dragging up to cover all the parts. This does lead to a few unintentionally hilarious moments when wigs go awry or simply fly off as a result of enthusiastic choreography.

Overall it’s very much what you’d expect, but with a few surprisingly good highlights that raise it above a school nativity experience. Max Garrood playing The Baker and George Warburton as The Baker’s Wife were both accomplished in their parts. Warburton in particular finding the Machiavellian humour in the role. Harry Ludlam as Jack had a pretty impressive voice and dropped some very witty one-liners – he definitely has a stage presence about him. But the scene-stealers were the trees, tables and doorways – held by the ensemble cast members – which danced their way onto the set with ballet-like beauty. Nice touch.

This was, to be totally fair, the first performance so technical problems of lighting and microphone problems can all be forgiven. The fact they’re grappling this complex show at all should be lauded greatly and kudos for delivering such a respectable job at such young years. I’ve seen plenty of shows by a cast twice these guys average age this Fringe that can’t hold a candle to them. Messy at times, yes, but an awful lot of fun.

Visit Show Website

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

An ambivalent Cinderella? A Prince Charming with a roving eye? A witch... who raps? The Brothers Grimm go Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s musical tour de force featuring cockeyed versions of our best-loved fairy tale characters, from Rapunzel to Jack and the Beanstalk. (Now a major film with Meryl Streep and James Corden.) Following the 2014 success of their world premiere Paper Play, the Beacon Boy Players, aged 10 to 13, return to the Fringe to perform this fractured family-friendly tale. Inspiring, frightening, hilarious and dark – as every good fairy tale should be!

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