Review: Into The Woods
Local theatre group Croft House Theatre returned to the Lyceum on Tuesday with their latest musical instalment; Into the Woods.
Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, Into the Woods brings together all your favourite fairytale characters into one story; including Cinderella, Prince Charming, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk. Protagonists The Baker and his Wife get more than they bargain for after being sent on a quest by the evil witch. The play is significantly different to the 2014 film adaptation, with Stephen Sondheim’s signature dark flair to the story making it slightly more grown-up (think less Disney, more Sweeney Todd).
However, this production lacked Sondheim’s eerie vibe, and did tailor the production to a much younger audience; which was a shame as this is what makes Sondheim’s plays so fantastic. During the opening number of the musical, there were significant sound difficulties, to the point where the musical numbers (which tell the majority of the story) were difficult to follow. If you were unfamiliar with the story already, I imagine it would be considerably difficult to keep track.
Stand out performance was Mary Kingsworth, who played the witch; her first performance with Croft House. Her imagining of the role was fantastic and gained the majority of laughs throughout the play. There were some fantastic vocal performances from most of the cast, so it was disappointing they were let down by the poor sound. There were a lot of ensemble members who were mainly used to just move the set around but could be better utilised vocally in the main musical numbers. The set design was also very basic, and changed rarely, which occasionally resulted in a lack of engagement with the story.
Although a solid amateur performance, the show highlighted how important the basics of a changing set and decent quality sound are to making a production great. Although some brilliant performers; the shows lack of fine-tuning the details did make it one of Croft Houses slightly more forgettable performances.