Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 musical Into The Woods is one of his most loved and well known shows.
A musical mash-up of some well loved fairytales stories sees the characters from Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel come together in one magical show. With the Hollywood film production coming to cinemas this Christmas starring the likes of Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Johnny Depp, All Star Productions have chosen the perfect time to stage this production at Ye Olde Rose and Crown.
The Baker and his Wife are struggling to have a baby when they find out that the witch who lives next door put a curse on their families years before. If they want this curse lifted to start a family of their own, they need to go into the woods and bring back a shopping list of items. Little Red Riding Hoods cape, Rapunzels golden hair, Cinderella’s shoe and Jacks cow. Just how far are this couple willing to go to have a child?
Tim McArthur’s brave and interesting directorial choices have brought this classic show a fresh new look and feel. Cinderellas step sisters are portrayed as characters from The Only Way Is Essex, Prince Charming and his friend are toffs from Made In Chelsea and Jack and his mother are portrayed as down on their luck chavs that you would quite possibly see on an episode of Jeremy Kyle.
Helena Raeburn was a good witch, although when her curse was lifted and she was returned to her original self, I would have liked to have still seen a bit of mysteriousness to her but instead she looked quite plain.
It was Hugh O’Donnell and Sarah Waddell though that stole the show as Jack and his mum. A hilarious duo of beer drinking Scottish chavs that brought some great humour to the show. Cinderella’s step mother Claire Hawkins and her two ugly sisters (played by Macey Cherrett and Lydia Jenkins) gave great Essex girl performances that made a change from the usual types of people you see playing these roles in shows. Emma Ralston also brought some great moments to the show as Little Red Riding Hood who was being pursued by a paedophile called Mr Wolf.
Be sure to go and see this new interpretation of a well loved classic because one thing is for sure, you will not see a version like this anywhere else (unless the production transfers into the West End – which it certainly deserves to).
Reviewed by Pete Cowell
Into The Woods is playing at Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthomstow until 31 October 2014. Click here to book tickets.