Into The Woods

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Those who insist on their fairytales ending “happily ever after” might want to give Into The Woods a miss.

For, while this spirited Norfolk Youth Theatre production of the Sondheim classic packs in more Grimm-inspired adventure than you can shake a beanstalk at, its wry subversion of fairytale conventions makes it a distinctly modern proposition.

The baker and his wife must throw caution (and principles) to the wind in a quest for Jack the Giant-Killer's cow, Rapunzel's hair, Red Riding Hood's cape and Cinderella's slipper. With the items secure and royal marriages afoot, all seems rosy. But Mrs Giant starts making inquiries about her husband's murderer…

A uniformly strong (and tuneful) cast imbued each character with the requisite fairytale magic while impressively negotiating the twists and turns of Sondheim's witty and often intricate lines.

Augusta Urquart's Little Red Riding Hood tempered the character's sweetness with a nonchalance - her I Know Things Now a stand-out performance.

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As The Witch, Amy Mallett combined a genuinely sinister aspect with a tart swagger remin-iscent of Miranda Richardson's Queeney from Blackadder.

With great songs and compelling performances, this show is bewitching entertainment, and well worth the price of admission - sadly, magic beans are unlikely to be accepted at the box office.

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