Into The Woods review

PUBLISHED: 11:53 28 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:53 28 April 2013

Emma Deacon as a sprite, Rachel Wallace as Cinderella's mother, Maureen Davies as Grandma, Georgina Nicholas as Little Red Riding Hood and Alison Hudson as Jack's mother.

Emma Deacon as a sprite, Rachel Wallace as Cinderella's mother, Maureen Davies as Grandma, Georgina Nicholas as Little Red Riding Hood and Alison Hudson as Jack's mother.

John Davies

INTO The Woods was staged at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City. Joseph Kerr reviews the Stephen Sondheim musical.

George Marsh as Cinderella and Lynsey Wallace as the baker's wife in the Barn Theatre's production of Into The Woods [Picture: John Davies]George Marsh as Cinderella and Lynsey Wallace as the baker's wife in the Barn Theatre's production of Into The Woods [Picture: John Davies]

“A PANTO for grown-ups” is how someone described the Stephen Sondheim musical being performed at the Barn Theatre.

I’m not sure I quite go along with that, but the subject matter, an artful intertwining of various fairy tales, ranging from Jack the Giant Killer through Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood to Rapunzel, is indeed reminiscent of everyone’s favourite Christmas entertainment.

But grown-up it certainly is, with attitudes we take for granted in fairy tales being subjected to moral scrutiny, and a turning upside down of the idea that everyone lives happily ever after.

Sondheim’s attraction lies in the wit of his lyrics and his intricate, enchanting music, and musically this production is a triumph.

There is some stunningly good singing from, to mention just a few, George Curry as Cinderella, Lynsey Wallace as the baker’s wife, Maz Geenbank as the witch, and Matt Greenbank and Will Smith as the two princes.

There’s an off-stage five-piece band, led by Rowan Baker, which is equally superb. Sondheim’s music is rarely easy to perform, and the standard of performance throughout was first class.

If you like Sondheim you will most certainly love this production. If you hate him, as some do, you won’t go anyway.

If you don’t know his work, this would be a very good show through which to make your own judgement.


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