Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Into The Woods

by Stephen Sondheim

Performed: November 2018

Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim

Review by The Burton Mail's Caroline Kay Assistant Digital Editor (What's On)

Little Theatre Company goes 'Into The Woods' with fabulous fairy tale cast

Burton has experienced somewhat of a Sondheim-fest of late, and his musical Into The Woods, performing at The Brewhouse Arts Centre, has to be some of his finest work.

Brought to life by Little Theatre Company, and starring some of the area's finest talent, the very clever and fabulous fairy tale mash-up, intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales.

The story by James Lapine is narrated by a young girl (Emily Haywood), with the main characters taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapuzel and Cinderella, along with several others.

The musical is tied together by a story intertwining a childless baker and his wife and their quest to have a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers' Rapunzel), their interaction with a witch who has put a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.

The ongoing theme throughout the tale is 'be careful what you wish for' and the first half of the story follows the baker (Joel Kirkpatrick) and his wife (Scarlett Marchant) and their wish to have a child, Cinderella (Olivia Robinson) who wishes to go to the King's Festival, and Jack (Roberto Storey) who wishes his cow, Milky White (Karen Hailstone), would give some milk.

When the baker and his wife are visited by the neighbourhood witch (Heather Gallagher), who reveals to them that she placed a curse on their family, the two set off on a journey into the woods to reverse the curse.

lso in the woods are Little Red Riding Hood (Charlotte Davis), who is trying to visit her grandmother (Sue McPhee), the wolf (Jim Haywood) who loves tasty little girls, the witch's daughter Rapuzel (Emmie Doyle), and the two princes (Ben Winson and Elliot Bishton) chasing after their loves.

The second half sees how the consequences of the characters' actions haunt them - some in disastrous and deadly ways.

As a community they must come together to save each other - and their kingdom. However, sacrifices must be made - but who will make them?

Again, an outstanding musical performance from Little Theatre Company, absolutely worthy of the professional stage.

I never tire of watching this company of immensely talented actors, singers and dancers and this show, as always, has been excellently cast.

Katie Haywood just revels in her role as Jack's mother, along with Sarah Spencer as Cinderella's stepmother, Vicky Fryer and Jodie Swann as the not-so ugly step sisters, Pete Banton as the steward to the royal household, Jodie Whitehead as Cinderella's mother, and Mike Mear as the Mysterious Man.

Emmie Doyle again wowed me with her crystal clear vocals, Ben Winson and Elliot Bishton were an absolute hoot as the foppish princes, and Emily Haywood as the narrator was an absolute star.

She was in almost every scene and an absolute delight to watch. I see great things for this young talent.

Again, John Bowness has been meticulous with his direction, along with Katie Hailstone (musical director) and Katy Haywood (choreographer).

From make-up and costumes to scenery and sound, the show was perfection from start to finish.

And for anyone, such as myself, who has little, or no knowledge, of Sondheim's work then Into The Woods is the perfect introduction to this genius' music and lyrics.

And for die-hard fans of the American songwriter you are in for a treat with this outstanding production.

It is jam packed full of a score which is terrifically clever, with songs such as Last Midnight being my earworm for the evening - and most this week.

Into the Woods is exciting, hilarious, dramatic and has one amazing score. What more could a musical theatre-lover wish for?




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