10th June 2016
Following the release of Disney’s Into The Woods in 2015, starring James Corden, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman and Johnny Depp, it’s great to see that The West Yorkshire Playhouse and Opera North have teamed up for the very first time to bring it back to the stage.

Making its debut in San Diego, USA in 1986 before transferring to Broadway in 1987, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, Into The Woods tells the story of a Baker (Dean Robinson) and his wife (Louise Collett), who are given the chance of having a child of their own by a Witch (Claire Pascoe), but at a price. For in order for this to happen, the childless couple have to bring the Witch a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn and a slipper as pure as gold.

So, as the likes of Little Red Riding Hood (Helen Évora), Cinderella (Gillene Butterfield), Jack (Nicholas Watts) and Rapunzel (Amy Freston), enter the story, the Baker and his wife seize their opportunity. But will the Big Bad Wolf (David Llewellyn), an Evil Stepmother (Miranda Bevin), The Ugly Sisters, a Giant and his wife, and various other fairy tale characters get in their way?

For adults and children alike, this is one of the greatest musicals to grace any stage and seems very much at home at the Playhouse. With faultless direction from James Brining, ingenious set design by Colin Richmond and creative lighting by Tim Mitchell, this dynamic trio make the whole production come to life. Into The Woods is perfectly cast and the characters are so strong and well written that all the performances stand out, though I do suspect that Helen Évora (Little Red Riding Hood) is having the most fun. Special mentions also go to Team Enchanted Woods and all the puppeteers.

As long as you are open to the fact that Into The Woods is 99.9% sung , I would encourage you to purchase tickets for what is an unforgettable evening of fun, great songs, fine performances, puppetry and hilarity – even if it is a little on the dark side.

Runs until Saturday, June 25 2016

Written by Kevin Petch