Into the Woods, 4 Stars

Into the Woods
The Cockpit Theatre
23rd May to 24th June 2018

“After a sold-out run in 2014, All Star Productions – Winner of the Best Producer in the Off-West
End Awards 2018 – team up with Trilby Productions and The Cockpit to stage a fresh new
adaptation of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Directed by Tim
McArthur, this production has been given a 21st century twist that promises to both enchant
and thrill. This darkly comic masterpiece invites audiences to journey into the middle of the
forest where well-known fairy tales interweave to create a magical world.
Into the Woods follows a childless baker and his wife as they dream of having a child. In a bid to
undo the curse placed on them and other storybook characters, the witch sends them into the
woods to reverse this. As act one unfolds, all the fairy tales reach the ending of their tales but
does this mean everyone will be happy? This innovative production sees the giant’s wife from
Jack and the Beanstalk come down to the kingdom to seek revenge, crushing many characters
on her way. Will the storybook people learn to work together to defeat her?
This wonderful adaptation of Into the Woods is performed in the round with an ensemble of
seventeen larger-than-life characters drawn from modern day Britain. From the Jeremy Kyle
Show to William and Kate’s royal wedding, this contemporary revival is complete with a drug-using
Rapunzel, a paedophile Wolf and an evil stepmother straight from TOWIE.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is one of my favourite all-time ever musicals. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s sophisticated and complex and silly all at the same time, it’s musically glorious and when done well is so enjoyable. Requiring a large cast of characters it’s a challenge for anyone to mount this production on a professional scale so is often produced by youth groups, schools and amateur companies.

This production by the award-winning All Star Productions teamed with Trilby Productions is a step-up from the original staged at the Rose and Crown Pub Theatre in Walthamstowe. In bringing the show to the Cockpit Theatre it’s a much larger space which demands more of the Lights, Sound and Set.

Joana Dias‘ Set is strikingly fantastic! Comprised of wooden pallets and ladders it’s an interesting 3D sculptural arrangement which director Tim MacArthur uses to full advantage in his musical staging and blocking. Perfect for grouping, journeys and elevating the characters. Complete with a Rapunzel Tower and Trap door. Very impressive!

(Photo Credit David Ovenden)

The orchestration and live music was great! So nice to hear a live band in fringe theatre under the experienced baton of Aaron Clingham. Beautifully performed from the balcony.

The lighting rig designed by Vittorio Verta is impressive in all the right places. With Gobo patterns coming from on-high for the woodland scenes there’s a lot to admire in the painting of the light and some lovely moments. Unfortunately though there are a few mis-matches between the special pickups for the Cast who literally weren’t in their light and a lot of scenes with dark faces. This became quite distracting.

The Cast all wore microphones but only some of them worked and even these didn’t work from the top of the production. And then there was Reverb on the Sound which came and went, and was more often on for dialogue and out of place. The lady giant speaking from off-stage didn’t have a microphone so her big speeches which should have shook the village to the core came across quite thin and wispy. The 2nd half plot lost it’s emotional impact and somehow missed pulling at our heart strings in the frenzy of it all. The programme lists a team of Sound Designer Gavin Hales and a Sound Operator but there were very obvious Sound problems.

Despite the technical not quite being up to the task, the production itself is brilliant! Once they sort the technical it’s a 5 Star production! It really is a great show and a really good night out! There is so much to love in this show!!!

Director Tim McArthur
Musical Director Aaron Clingham
Producer All Star Productions and Trilby Productions
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick

Ticket Link: Click here

Location The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH

How to get there The nearest tube station is Edgware Road (on the Hammersmith & City,
District, Circle and Bakerloo Line) and Marylebone (on the Bakerloo and
main line).

Running Time Two hours 25 minutes (plus interval)

Box Office Tickets are available from The Cockpit Box Office on 020 7258 2925 or
online at https://www.thecockpit.org.uk/. Tickets are priced from £24
(£20 concession)

Twitter @allstarpro, @TheWoods2018, #IntoTheWoodsPlay

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