It's never exactly been a secret what vanessaw
's favourite musical is, so when I heard rumours the tiny Landor theatre was going to revive Into the Woods
I kept my ear to the ground and got a couple of tickets as soon as they went on sale - just as well, because it quickly sold out. This was one of the Sondheim musicals I hadn't seen before, but I can see why Vanessa loves it. In the first act, several well-known fairytales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rapunzel) get mixed together when a baker and his wife have to steal an artifact from each story to give to the witch. They all get their happy endings but that only takes us to the interval, and when we come back they have to face the consequences of actions that didn't seem that important at the time.
There's always an extra bit of excitement in seeing a full-scale musical in a pub theatre, and Robert McWhir's production (the director also played the narrator tonight due to an actor being ill) has a full cast of 18 in the full space, plus a nicely-designed set (by Nina Morley) of enormous storybooks. I hugely enjoyed it and so did Vanessa, who has a recording of a full-scale Broadway production so this was a big change in scale for her. All the cast are excellent, and particularly good at staying in-character even when they're sidelined. There's no bad casting but Lori Hayley Fox as the witch and Sarah Head as the Baker's wife are great; cutie Jonathan Eio is very good as the gormless Jack (and spent much of the time on our side of the stage flashing his pecs at us so there's lovely) and Vanessa also liked Ryan Forde Iosco who makes a very tall Big Bad Wolf. Great fun all round, and very well sung.Into the Woods
by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is booking until the 17th of October at the Landor Theatre (but is now sold out.)