Into the Woods Photos by David Ovenden

Into The Woods at The Cockpit Theatre Until 24th June

★★★

Review By Caroline Hanks-Farmer

Into the Woods is effectively a compilation of several of our favourite fairy tales in one show. Created by Stephen Sondheim, it challenges both the cast by its technicality and the audience by its inordinate length. I always enjoy Into The Woods especially the first act. Although a part of me, who loves a happy ending, wishes every time that it finished at the end of the first act (and yes I do realise that you would then lose the consequential moral repercussions).

Synopsis

Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others.

Review

Without doubt there are some very strong performances from the All Star Productions cast. In particular Abigail Carter-Simpson as Cinderella, and Michele Moran as The Witch. However it is the distinct new characterisation which I particularly enjoyed for the most part. Madeleine MacMahon as Jack’s mother with her “chavtastic” performance reminded me of a female version of Rab C Nesbitt. A pivotal role, of course, is the narrator and whilst he stumbled on more than one line Jordan Michael Todd was engaging.

Tim McArthur as the baker delivered a good performance and I particularly enjoyed his direction of this piece. The movement was mesmerising and added the contemporary feel it was striving to achieve.

There were also performances which were too large for the performance space and others too small. The balance at times was wrong and the sound issues plagued the enjoyment. Whilst we were told it is in the round and any seat would provide good entertainment value, I would question this, as I did struggle at times, this was hindered further with the aforementioned sound issues.

In summary

A well executed, solid production with some extremely strong vocal performances. However returning to my original statement it is just a fraction too long for my entire enjoyment.

Listings

Title

Into the Woods

Dates

Wednesday 23 May – Sunday 24 June 2018
Tuesday – Saturday, 7.30pm, Sunday, 3.30pm
No shows on Mondays

Location

The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH

How to get there

The nearest tube station is Edgware Road (on the Hammersmith
& City, District, Circle and Bakerloo Line) and Marylebone (on
the Bakerloo and main line).

Running Time

Two hours 25 minutes (plus interval)

Box Office

Tickets are available from The Cockpit Box Office on 020 7258
2925 (Mon-Fri 10.30am – 6pm, Sat 12pm – 6pm) or online at
https://www.thecockpit.org.uk/. Tickets are priced from £24
(£20 concession)

Social Media

@TheWoods2018, #Woods2018

Director

Tim McArthur

Musical Director

Aaron Clingham

Assistant Musical Staging

Nicola Martin

Producer

All Star Productions and Trilby Productions

Music and Lyrics

by Stephen Sondheim

Book

by James Lapine

Orchestrations

by Jonathan Tunick

Set Designer

Joana Dias

Costume Designer

Stewart Charlesworth

Lighting Designer

Vittorio Verta

Sound Designer

Gavin Hales

Sound No.1

Angela Gomez

Production Assistant

Angie Lawrence

Stage Manager

Randy Smartnick

Assistant Stage Manager

Nicola Landy

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