Friday, October 3, 2008

Into the Woods and Out of the Woods and Home before Dark!

I don't really want to write anything today, but I would be remiss if I didn't review the production of Into the Woods I saw last night. (Into the Woods is Sondheim's mixed up fairy tale with lots of quick wit, quick lyrics, and deep social commentaries.)

Buuuuut I'm feeling really lazy, so I'm just going to give you some highlights.

- It was at Hale Center Theatre, so the revolving stage and the amazing sets and costumes dazzled my very eyeballs from their sockets. A-mazing.

- Little Red Riding Hood cracked me up like nobody's business. She was probably in her twenties and taller than Cinderella (she was 5 foot nothing, I swear), but she looked and acted exactly like a litter girl. She definitely stole the show. In one scene she threatens Jack (the beanstalk one) with a knife, then begins cleaning her nails with it.

- The Princes. Heavens to Betsy. SO funny. When Rapunzel's prince got blinded by the witch, he said "My EYES! (in that pompous princely tone that Edward uses in Enchanted)" staggered off-stage blindly and said "shoooot" under his breath. And of course, the "Agony" reprise is so repulsive and funny.

- The Baker's Wife continues to be my favorite character in the show (besides perhaps the witch, but I'll get to that in a sec). She's strong and human, funny and clear-thinking, and an all-around deep character. Haha, my favorite scene is when she attacks Cinderella in order to get her golden slipper and screams "I need your shoe to have a baby!"

- The witch is usually my favorite character. She's sarcastic and mean and powerful, but underneath all that, she really loves Rapunzel. I love "The Witch's Rap," "The Last Midnight," and "Lament." In Hale's production, however, our witch was also the director. Usually I'm okay with the director being in the show, but not if they don't rein themselves in. The witch, who isn't really a main character (she's more the voice of reason), hammed it up shamelessly last night. During her rap, she "fell asleep" and it took two minutes to wake her up. By the time she started singing again, I forgot what she had been singing about! The witch was better in the second act, but I was still kind of disappointed.

Hmmm, I think that's it. If anyone wants to hear about any of the other characters, let me know, all right? And yes, Mandi, Cinderella was very good, but I wish she had been a little spicier. (***NOTE: READ STU'S COMMENT*** Cecily is a freakin' trooper.)

And Brandon, I'll post my fable later. :)

UPDATE- Ironically, when I saw the show a second time, my only qualms were quieted. The witch was powerful and didn't try to ham it up too much, and Cecily was phenomenal. So much more depth in the second act. (probably due to her not getting a concussion this time!!!) I wish I'd seen her when she played Jo in Little Women a year or so ago!


Mandi said...

Hee hee, I love how you anticipated my question. Happy Birthday, by the way. Did you get to see "Woods" as an early birthday present?

How were Cindy's stepfamily? And how was the Baker? I adore "No More" when it's done right.

Becca said...

I got to see Woods as a late birthday present! Amy got me the tickets last year for my birthday. :)

Cindy's stepfamily was pretty good; the sisters were funny. The stepmother was just obnoxious and dragged out her vowels. :P

The baker was all right. I didn't really connect with him very well, but maybe that's just me. "No More" was done very very well. I didn't start crying, but it was good.

Stu said...

You probably don't have the slightest idea who I am (I'm an old high school friend of Brandon's). I was reading his blog and noticed a link to this post. I was sorta interested because I was also at that show. Unlike you however, I was up in the ceiling directing a spot light around at the various folks on stage.

I only had two comments about your take. The first was about the witch. I don't care much for the director being in the show either (for the same reasons). However, the reason for the sleeping pause isn't for her. The other cast's witch requested that small break to catch her breath. If you listen to the original Broadway version of the rap you will notice that it is quite a bit slower. She uses that short "nap" to gasp for breath :)

The second comment was about Cinderella. I have to stick up for her in the second act (I am not sure if you were talking about her in the first act or not). Anyway, right before intermission the bean stalk comes through the stage. After the lights went down, Cinderella and her prince (who happens to be her husband) were leaving through that tunnel and she slipped through the hole in the stage. The drop isn't insignificant (well more than 10 feet... probably closer to 12-14). Fortunately she managed to sort of slide down the beanstalk and the way she landed she hit the back of her head on the concrete. Under normal circumstances that might be a serious problem... but her costume involves a good six inches of wig. So she took a good whack to her head, but in all she came out ok, and even managed to perform the second act.

So I have to stand up for her not being to "spicy" in the second act... but I think she was probably feeling a little tipsy.

Other than those two points I was glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself... opening nights are always exciting.

Becca said...


Thank you for you input! And I totally understand about the witch's rap and Cinderella now. I actually went and saw the show again, and liked both characters more, especially Cinderella. So tell Cecily that I think she's awesome and I'm sorry she hit her head. :)