As I sat in my chair a tray of food in front of me, my headphones on, I started to watch the in-flight movie. We’d missed it in the pictures, but on the outbound flight to Florida “Into The Woods” was on. Perfect.
Just as it started… “Daaaad? My headphones aren’t working”, “Daaaaad? My iPad won’t work!”, “Can you take me to the toilet?”. I never got to see the film and as a result, didn’t know anything about the musical or story. Which can work out both good and bad!
Tyne Theatre Productions present Into The Woods
Into the Woods is a fairy tale story with a twist… in two parts.
Every fairy tale has some form of the third person narrator. Daniel Dorian Johnson played the deadpan narrator to a tee. He walked on pulled the story along, introduced the characters and drifted off stage. It would be impossible for him not to draw focus with the green hair and beard.
The Story starts off with the introduction of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Ridinghood. Each singing their own stories. Cinderella wanting to go to the Prince’s festival, Jack needing to sell the family cow and Little Red collecting sweet treats to take to her grandmother.
When the neighbouring witch knocks on the door of the bakery, she tells Baker and his Wife that their house is cursed. The curse has prevented them from having children. They would remain childless unless they could lift the curse. To do this the Baker needed to collect A white Cow, A Red Cape, Some hairs as yellow as corn and a Golden Shoe. Desperate to start a family he sets off on his scavenger hunt… Into the Woods.
While in the Woods we are introduced to Rapunzel.
And Two Princes.
As the Baker started to find all the items on his list and everything seems to be wrapping up, I noticed we hadn’t seen an interval yet. The Curse was lifted, everyone appeared on stage and it felt like an ending… but it wasn’t. Into The Woods has the extra part that I’ve thought about so many times at the cinema. What happened next?
Where the fairy tale story concluded, there has to be more story. What happens after the royal wedding? Or When Jack the Giant Slayer gets home? There has to be more story. Well, there is and that’s where the second twist is.
Into The Woods Review
The Tyne Theatre Production was well produced. The stage setting was well created and the few transitions were well orchestrated. The Steam Punk overlay in the costumes was a fun touch. The music was provided by a live orchestra, which was perfectly balanced. The music never overpowered the singing and likewise in return, it couldn’t be faulted. I can remember reading somewhere that Stephen Sondheim music was complicated. Apart from a few songs, on the whole, the musical score seemed to have lots of parts happening at the same time. Which also occurred with the lyrics in places too. Three or four different character s singing their own stories on top of each other.
The complexity came to a head in the middle of the second half. Cinderella, The Baker and Wife, Jack and his Mam, The Witch and Rapunzel are having a heated blame discussion. With each character singing just a few words while bouncing the blame back and forth. All actors involved hit it off floorless. The tight cast of 17 have done an excellent job and there really wasn’t a weak link.
As we left the Tyne Theatre, we couldn’t help sing out pieces of the title song.
Into the Woods is on until Saturday the 10th March. Tickets are available from the Tyne Theatre Priced at £10 – £16
Photos by Signature Times Photography