I saw another school production for my drama class for marks. This time, it was for the stage play "Into The Woods" based on the book by James Lapine. Original music and lyrics were done by Stephen Sondheim.
Into the Woods is a story broken down into two acts. The first act follows the standard stories of well-known fairy tale characters. It follows the story of Little Red Riding Hood trying to navigate her way through the woods to see her grandmother while avoiding the wolf. Cinderella making her way to Prince Charming's ball, and the lost shoe. Rapunzel being locked in her tower for a undetermined amount of time. And a baker's family being unable to concieve a child due to a witch's curse put upon their house before their time. It even has the Jack and The Beanstalk (my least favourite) story. The second act follows everyone after their "happily ever after" ending, where everything has nowhere to go but down. The baker is experiencing spatial issues with his family, Cinderella and Charming having marital problems, Rapunzel experiencing post-partum depression after being isolated for so long. Jack is the subject of a man-hunt conducted by giants for murdering one in act one. Not much has changed for Little Red though.
Unlike the adaptation of Aida, I was very unimpressed by Into The Woods. I found the acting, while decent, quite underwhelming. There were moments where the acting was very spot-on (The actress that played Little Red did such a great job), while other moments seemed really robotic, and overly emphasized. There were also character portrayals that I found sorely annoying. The baker was portrayed as something of a little wimp even in moments he was supposed to be brave. The baker's wife was portrayed as something of a slut, while her character is supposed to be innocently guilty of her infedelity in Act II, she was portrayed as genuinely promiscuous. The portrayal of Jack just bored me to death in some segments (although its hard to get passed the bad-assness of killing a giant), he was just nothing interesting, he just bored me to death. I have to give the thumbs-up to the utterly annoying performance of Rapunzel in Act II, she was accurately portrayed, and I just think it was really well done.
The plot was actually quite straightforward, but I hated Act II with the passion. It takes the fairly enjoyable Act I, and engrosses it with elements of teen drama. People are cheating on eachother, relationship conflicts are settles with the depth of that of a grade 7 relationship, it was all just unbearable. The first act was enjoyable because it played true to alot of the fairly tale character's stories, some of which are really interesting. Act I (a very slight) yay, Act II nay
The soundtrack was unexcusably loud, and quite annoying. I found quite a bit of cue misses too. I sat in the very front row, so that might've contributed to it, but overall, I just found them unprepared to do a performance that they. Their sound was clearly too loud, the mics even made high-pitched squeaks at times. Only the main theme of Into The Woods was catchy, everything else would've been easily forgettable (had it not been so freakin' loud !). Despite all that, I was very impressed witht he choreography, some of the best choreography I've seen. I could tell they spent alot of time rehearsing choreography !
The set was absolutely beautiful ! It was so well built. When they opened up the curtains to show the setting of the forest, I was blown away ! I have to give a shout out to the boys and girls that helped with construction of the set, because they managed to be a part of one of the very few good things that performance had to offer. It was a pure treat to look at. Anybody in construction, or in the art industry would appreciate the true work of art that was the set of Into The Woods.
The Bottom Line:
I was not impressed by Into The Woods, actually quite disappointed. The first act was mildly enjoyable if you're a fan of fairy tales, but the second act was just bad. I don't even blame it on the actor's, I just think the second act was poorly written. The music was uneventful and not catchy, aside from the main theme, I'm not gonna be repeating any of the soundtrack in my head. I don't really recommend seeing an adaptation unless you know a very highly reputable theatre putting it on. Then go see it all you want.