Into the woods, out of the woods, and off to the Tony’s, the College of William and Mary’s production of “Into the Woods” was an anything but Grimm.
The first act of “Into the Woods” tangles the classic fairytales Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel together through the new story of a baker and his wife who must lift an anit-fertility curse put on their house by a witch. By the end of the first act, every character’s story has already been wrapped up with a stereotypical Disney “happy ending.”
After a short intermission, characters grace the stage again and their happy endings unravel. The protagonists must face the consequences of their wishes and learn the difference between “nice,” “good,” and “right.” Like many Sondheim musicals, “Into the Woods” ends with traumatic loss and no picture perfect resolution.
With an affordable ticket price ($10 with a student discount) and exquisite execution, there were few downsides to seeing “Into the Woods.” While the show was not short (three and a half hours including arriving early and intermission), it is easy to stay engaged with the quick plot and copious storylines.
The play was full of one-liners (I was raised to be charming, not sincere), drama, and talent off the charts. After seeing “Into the Woods,” I am excited to attend future William and Mary Theatre productions.
It Takes Two
… or three, or four, or 19 talented cast members to pull of a production like “Into the Woods.” With the sheer number of prominant characters, an “Into the Woods” cast must have a depth of talent, and William and Mary Theatre delivered. This is especially impressive because Sondheim’s music has a reputation for being difficult.
Emily Flack ’20 showed off her impressive range hitting Cinderella’s high notes in “On the Steps of the Palace.” James Lynch ‘20 and Anthony Madalone ‘21, Cinderella’s and Rapunzel’s princes respectively, gave a strong and amusing randition of “Agony” that had the audience perked up in their seats.
One of the most notable performances was Lorien Deyo-Rivera ‘19 as Milky White, Jack’s pet cow. Despite having no speaking lines, Deyo-Rivera’s expressions, dancing, and acting ilicited laughs, applause, and comments from the crowd as much as any other character on stage.
The attention to detail of every cast member to their character truly made “Into the Woods” spectacular. I could name an impressive acting or singing moment from every single cast member.
No One is Alone
Of course, the cast was not soley responsible for the success of “Into the Woods,” they also had an incredibly talented team working on lighting, sound, costumes, set design, special effects, and makeup.
The set was kept simple, occassionally switching between the homes of the characters and the woods. Most of the show took place in the woods, where the only set was trees lining the stage. The emptiness of the stage was actually preferable because a busy set would compete with the already busy plot. The most impressive moment (outside of the casts’ performance of course) was the giant’s hand falling on stage when she died.
All of the costumes were impeccible. The cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold were all essential elements to the play that all appeared as described. Additionally, special effects like smoke and sparks used for the Witch made the musical feel professional.
In every aspect, attention to detail and hard work made “Into the Woods” an enormous success.