Royal Conservatoire of Scotland: Into the Woods, 5 stars ***** - One4Review
one4review | On 10, Aug 2017
Into the Woods is one of Sondheim’s best loved and critically acclaimed masterpieces. It is intricate, detailed, charming and very, very clever. Act one presents us with familiar fairy tale characters and interweaves them on a quest to essentially find happiness and have their wishes come true – ‘happily ever after’. Everyone indeed seems happy until act two which deals with the aftermath, the consequences to everyone else for their actions. It goes into very dark material and much less of a happy fairy tale.
Because of this, Into the Woods is often presented as just act 1 and everything is lovely! The RCS are to be applauded for bringing the whole work to the Fringe and indeed including optional sections such as “Our Little World”.
Overall the production is outstanding, the acting and singing are of the standard you would expect and the small band does an excellent job of the complex score. Direction keeps everything moving at a pace and the choreography works well, never getting in the way or being excessive.
The set deserves its own bow, an excellent, smoky piece of work and looks quite a build for a Fringe show. Costumes too are fantastic. There is a lot of backlighting and the show is quite dark (literally) but you get used to it; it’s very atmospheric. Sound was sometimes an issue with the band overpowering at times but even though some words got lost the gist of the story still came through.
My only niggle with this particular performance was that some of the speeds were getting pushed a bit, especially in the marathon opening section where there is so much exposition. The slightest lack of clarity can make the whole plot confusing and there’s a lot of plot.
Another excellent professional quality production from the RCS, it’s a marathon but then this is proper musical theatre at its best!
Review by Alan.
Assembly Hall (on the Mound)
Until 27th (not 14th/21st)