Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching The Spark Youth Theatre Company’s production of Into The Woods. I had never seen a stage production of Into The Woods before so this was my first theatre experience of the Sondheim and Lapin hit musical, and it was a joy to behold!
The story begins with the principal cast members wishing for their heart’s desires, Cinderella wants to go to the king’s festival, Jack wants his cow, Milky White, to produce some milk for him and his mother so that he doesn’t have to sell it, Red Riding Hood wants some bread to take to her Granny in the woods and the Baker and his wife long for a child. An evil witch appears and explains to the Baker and his wife that they shall forever be barren thanks to a curse that was beheld upon the family many years ago, however, if they were to bring her the ingredients she needs to make a magical potion within 3 days, she will grant them their wish for a child. The baker and his wife set out on a 3-day quest in the woods to find the cow as white as milk, the hair as yellow as corn, the cape as red as blood and the golden slipper. Once they find the items and deliver them to the witch, the curse may be lifted.
When we entered the auditorium, we were met with a beautifully atmospheric open set. The spooky haze and artistic lighting really accentuated the gloriously minimal, yet effective, static set. I really loved the use of real logs on the front of the stage to bring in some authentic natural elements. As well as the artistic set, the costumes and wigs were absolutely brilliant. Red Riding Hood’s cape was indeed as red as blood and the golden hair of Rapunzel was very cleverly done!
What a talented bunch of individuals the Spark Youth Theatre Group are! Every member of the cast was fantastic. From the expressive acting to the strong voices, they really showed their skills and abilities as performers! The principal cast consisted of:
The Baker – The Baker is one of the main roles in the show and was played by Grace Messer. She did a fantastic job and showed such confidence on-stage in her role!
The Baker’s Wife – played by Daisy Pritchard-Williams, gave a great performance proving that her role was vital to the show’s progression and that the baker couldn’t have found all of the items by himself! Daisy had a great voice and provided beautiful harmonies in her duet with the Baker.
Little Red Riding Hood – Played by Gwen Pritchard-Thomas, brought a cheekiness and playful atmosphere to the show, she was so expressive and had a fantastic voice!
The Witch – The witch was played by Elizabeth Stanway and was absolutely brilliant, she threw herself into the role and had great confidence! The witch really caught the audiences’ attention each time she was on-stage.
Jack – Played by Lola Cole, gave such a great performance and a fantastic rendition of Giants In the Sky!
Jack’s Mother – Jacks mother, played by Olivia Hare, again had such confidence in her role and gave a great performance as the nagging mother!
Cinderella – Played by Lilly McPartlan-Morey, had a brilliant voice! I really enjoyed her performance and the confidence she showed when portraying such a well-loved character was admirable! I loved the reveal of her ballgown too, very cleverly done and so effective!
Rapunzel – Rapunzel was played by Iris Prichard-Williams. She also played Cinderella’s mother and showed great confidence in both roles!
Cinderella’s Prince & Rapunzel’s Prince played by Victoria Stanway and Sophia Berry brought a real comedy element to the show with brilliantly expressive acting and their fantastic rendition of ‘Agony’ – the audience absolutely loved it!
a worthy mention has to be made for the little dancing tree (Piper Kent) the audience absolutely loved her and every time the tree came on, she was sure to get a laugh! Every performer has to play a tree at some point in their career, and this one was certainly the best I’ve witnessed! No show would be complete without the ensemble, supporting roles and narrators, consisting of Anneliese Doggett (Florinda), Etienne Thomas (Lucinda) C.J. Mason (Wolf & Stepmother) Ben Derbyshire (Mysterious Man) Joshua Monk (Narrator and Steward) and Charlotte Leavey (Narrator). Every single member of the cast should be extremely proud of their performances! The choral singing was so strong and clear as well as the solo’s and they all had the choreography down to a tee! They are a very talented bunch of performers and I predict that they would each have a great career ahead of them if they wish to continue to pursue the arts!
Hats off to them and their fantastic production!