Into the Woods
10th July 2015
Hessle Theatre Company
Hull Truck Theatre
Type of Production
Author: Tony Harris
I’ll start this report by being honest. I am not the biggest Sondheim fan in the world and I don’t particularly like Into the Woods! However, the skills of the Director, coupled with the depth of talent at his disposal, at least allowed me to understand what the show is all about.
I was also able to look closely at the performances offered, not so much at the individual characterisations but more at the way the cast worked the stage and the auditorium in the staging which was quite intricate in parts. In this regard there were some excellent performances and I think it’s fair to say that there wasn’t a weak link.
I must comment on the wonderful stagecraft and talent of 15 year old Olivia Hewitt-Jones who played Red Riding Hood. The more I think about it the more I realise that her singing and acting abilities along with her stage presence made it a really powerful performance. It just seemed that she was always in the right place at the right time. Remember the name!
She wasn’t alone in being impressive. Sam Flanagan as The Witch has a strong voice and worked really hard on her difficult numbers. Russell Fallon was a gentle Baker and he was very nicely accompanied by Hannah Wilson as his wife who gets better every time I see her.
I enjoyed James Galer and Joe Porte as the Princes – Cinderella’s and Rapunzel’s respectively – their “Agony” being excellent. Katherine Fitzgerald also came across well as Jack’s Mother as did Jack himself (Jowan Long). That is not to say that no-one else stood out, they all did (including the cow!).
The set worked well, being specially designed for the theatre, and the lighting plot was good. The backstage band was loud enough and a good backing for the powerful singers. I don’t think the music in this show is easy but I reckon it’s a jolly good sing and everyone put their hearts and souls into it, gaining enthusiastic response from the audience.
This society continues to shine a beacon for amateur theatre and are to be thoroughly congratulated once again.