Music Theatre Society’s Into The Woods Was Out Of This World

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Into the Woods, a musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, has been adapted by the Music Theatre Society for the Spring semester. Directed by Daniel Cartlidge and Shaunagh Kelly, the plot follows a Baker (Joe Bell) and his Wife (Harriet Kemp-Hunt), who aim to undo the Witch’s (Helena Busiakiewicz) curse to have a baby. In order to do so, they need to acquire a white cow, a red cape, yellow hair, and a golden slipper. The story entangles a group of fairytale characters: Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk (James Marsh), Little Red Riding Hood (Iona Meechan), Rapunzel (Kiera Leaper), and Cinderella (Olivia Thackray).

Although the production was quite lengthy (two and a half hours long), the fast pace of the performance made the time go by very quickly. The cast all managed to captivate the audience, however the Baker’s Wife (Harriet Kemp-Hunt), Cinderella (Oliva Thackray), and the Witch (Helena Busiakiewicz) deserve a special mention due to their strong voices, through which they were able to truly express the emotions of their characters. Likewise, Dalia Kay’s acting abilities stood out through her use of facial expressions, especially when she played dialogue-less characters like the Cow and the Harp. It is also safe to say that Cinderella’s Stepsisters (Lucy Johnson and Rebecca Heffer) and both Princes (Shay Kennedy and Ronan Pilkington) were loved by the audience as they added a comedic aspect to the musical. The duos’ over-exaggerated acting paired with funny dialogues made the audience laugh out loud almost every time they appeared on stage. 

In addition to the great acting abilities, the flickering stage lighting created a magical atmosphere and added a lot to the overall story – with the LUU Backstage Society employing serious skill to keep up with the quick changes. The choice to use red light in order to symbolise danger seemed a bit cliché, however, it fit nicely with the purple and pink hues used throughout the performance. Similarly, the scenery was well though through as it remained constant during the whole show, but has managed to fit every scene. Additionally, the live orchestra accompanying the performance added that little bit of magic to the fairytale themed story.

It is clear that a lot of work has been put into the musical by the whole team as watching Into the Woods was a wonderful way to spend the evening. I am looking forward to seeing Music Theatre Society’s next production.

Image credit: LUU Music Theatre Society