Into The Woods ★★★★✰
Into the Woods is always going to be a difficult musical to put on stage in my opinion, with limited set (all set in the woods) and storylines with different characters; Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the beanstalk ... mix that in with the length of the show, the question is ... how do you keep a persons attention long enough for them not to walk out.
As you walk into the Cockpit theatre, fist thing you’ll notice is it’s in the round, a strange way of putting on the show, however, when the show starts, this is properly the best way to do it! The second thing you’ll notice is the bark all over the theatre floor, this gave the theatre more atmosphere as not only did it represent the woods, it also gave a smell that put you exactly where you needed to be.
Tim McArthur’s vision of Into the Woods is a little different from Sondheim. Jack and his mother were council estate chavs from Glasgow, Rapunzel was a coke snorting troubled girl and the ugly steps sisters we’re straight out of TOWIE as well the wicked step mum.
All in all the acting and singing was great, my issue came with Little Red Riding hood (Florence Odumosu), playing a little girl is clearly not her strong point and it came across like Odumosu was over acting which almost ruins her scenes. It’s a shame because, having seen Odumosu in another musical, I know she has talent, playing a child, playing Little Red Riding hood is not her strength, however, Jack (Jamie O’Donnell) was perfect as the young lad from Glasgow, O’Donnell did well to portray the emotion a young kid would feel losing a loved pet yet wanting to do ring in his mothers eyes, O’Donnell worked well to have the audience feel for this young boy.
The main story focuses on The Baker and his Wife, (Tim McArthur and Jo Wickham) they want a child but they’re cursed by the witch (Michele Moran), so going by her order to unbreak the spell they find themselves taking a journey deep into the woods.
Wickham and McArthur worked well together and bounced off each other in perfect timing, Wickham did well to show the wife’s strong side and sarcasm, her vocal range was perfect.
There were times within the musical I did ask myself why? For example, the Wolf (Ashley Daniels), Daniel’s turns up when Little Red Riding hood walks through the forrest to see her Grandmother and he sings a song about wanting to eat her, there was a point during the song where the wolf looked as if he wanted to sleep with the little girl instead of eating her which I found a bit weird.
Overall, this is not a bad production, Into the Woods is a long show but the cast do well to keep your focus and remain locked onto whoever was acting at the time, no matter how many people were on the stage. The Narrator (Jordan Michael Todd) was the best at this, Todd was always on stage but he never drew focus, he got involved when he needed to and stayed away when he didn’t, I thought this was great direction from McArthur.
Into the Woods is on at the Cockpit Theatre from the 23rd May - 24th June 2018