out of town theatre reviewsout of town theatre reviewsWoods is no musical INTO THE WOODS music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, directed by Peter Hinton, with Bruce Dow, Peter Donaldson, Susan Gilmour, Mary Ellen Mahoney and Kyle Blair. Runs in rep to Oct 30. $44.14-$114.39. Avon Theatre, Stratford. 1-800-567-1600, www.stratfordfestival.ca. Rating: NNN into the woods - fabulous, beau tiful, and I hated every minute of it. I've always blamed Stephen Sondheim for the earnestness that has taken over the American musical, and everything about Stratford's Into The Woods confirms my bias.
It has tons of content - too much, I think, fracturing familiar fairy tales to comment on parent-child relationships and the meaning of choice while warning us all to be careful what we wish for.
But we go to see musicals for the song and dance, right? There isn't a single dance number in this show. And while Sondheim's virtuosic lyrics are awfully smart, he cannot write a melody. Oh, wait, yes he can. Who can forget A Little Night Music's Send In The Clowns? Sondheim can't. He's reworked it here almost note for note in the show's emotional climax, No More.
If you're looking to see a musical composer redeemed, Stratford is the place to go. There's creative design by Dany Lyne and energetic performances, especially by Kyle Blair as Jack (of beanstalk fame). Bruce Dow and Mary Ellen Mahoney are electrifying as the baker and his wife.
You get the feeling as you're watching them that they just can't wait for a real musical to break out. email@example.com