Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is a whimsical, enchanting and clever look at fairy tales, and what happens after “happily ever after.”
Walking into the Lamb’s Players Theatre it’s immediately apparent that this production nails the mind’s-eye version of storybook lands. From the chirping bird songs to the treetops of the dark forest, the décor is straight out of Mother Goose.
Act One is a journey into the woods and into the lives of different storybook tales: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and others. As characters are introduced, each is revealed to have a wish; the characters – – and their stories – intersect as they try to make their wishes come true.
The actors are fabulous: Becky Biegelsen as the Baker’s Wife is both witty and endearing; Ryan Drummond is wonderful as the Baker. Cinderella (Jennifer Shelton) sings beautifully, clear and bright. Jack (Spencer Moses) is loveable and Red Riding Hood (Season Duffy) is bratty – in a perfectly good way. And the witch (Deborah Gilmour Smith) sings her heart out and steals the show.
Actually, every cast member takes their role and becomes that person (or giant or wolf). It’s such a treat when this happens in theater; the audience is totally won over. This effect was strengthened by the wonderful musicians (cleverly perched in the treetops) and the mesmerizing lighting.
The songs are delightful, alternately heartbreaking and hilarious. The only drawback was that the audience didn’t seem to “get it.” Sadly, they didn’t even give the ensemble an encore.
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