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Into the Woods

Date

15th November 2017

Society

The Kings Lynn Players

Venue

Guildhall St George, Arts Centre, King’s Lynn

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Ross Woodhouse

Musical Director

Samantha Ashby

Choreographer

Bryony Ding

Report

Author: Sue DuPont

What a fantastic first night of amazing talent and pace.   After showing his talents as excellent performer in many shows, Ross Woodhouse changed hats and completed his first Directorial role, and how brilliant it was in every aspect. A young director with a different show attracted auditionees from all around the area, and under the umbrella of KLP, the talented from several groups (and not just KLP although several graduation from Young Players) came in to give an ideal casting.  Assisted by Bryony Ding in her debut as choreographer, this was a ‘younger element’ production which was adventurous, exciting, creative, and so tight.  And on the music side, Samantha Ashby led the group up the mountain-side in this difficult Sondheim score to a very excellent finale; and the orchestra did not disappoint with the rendition of score, well done.

A different, striking, and more modern view of the set which worked well in context and was so atmospheric especially with that lighting plot designed by Sarah Krill.   And acceptable modern dress in this interpretation of the script. With all those radio mikes, the sound good.

In a production as good as this, where can one begin a report?   Perhaps the outstanding casting with such style and talent, suitability and capability in all roles, and directed with skills of acting and music.   So the story told with clarity and sympathy for the plot, and with perfect diction and personality by the master Narrator Ian Ding.  Such a complex plot from all those tales based on ‘Grimm’, each character role was worth developing and interacting into the various sub-plots, and the audience had to keep up with the actions.

 All named roles within this show and all required the skills of voice and acting: the Cinderella plot with Ashton White in title role with a voice to die for and a personality plus with the modern look.   Sky Nuttall as Stepmother with Lucinda (Isabel Harmer-Borley) and Florinda (Claire Mellor) the really nasty element in this tale and Tom Clarke as Father could not help: vocally and character-wise a good team, and counteracted by sweet-voiced Mother of Christina Attridge.

To the Beanstalk tale and a touching relationship between Jack (Ewan Grummett) and Milky White cow controlled by William Coase, sadness and despair with loss of cow but elation from the treasures of the beanstalk.   A great warmth of a frustrated and protective mother for Jack from Jo Sherry creating a lovely character-study. 

To a delightful light-footed Red Ridinghood of Jessica Perillo who had all the problems of fun and naughty disobedience compounded with the cunning Wolf (Ian Gooda) and poor Granny (Lorraine Carver), but which turned out well in the end.

The Baker’s tale with his wife and the wish for a child is really the lynchpin of the plot and Tom Watson and Eleanor Buckingham really had a huge influence on how the story progressed, strength in their characters, good interactive skills, and with such voices it just took off.   Add the background look-back with Mysterious Man from John West appearing at odd moments.

To Rapunzel in her tower (cleverly managed) and Sarah Cook had all the notes and the despair, and the OTT acting.   But her Prince (Matt Austin) found her, and also Cinderella’s Prince (Tom Tree) found her, and their ‘agony’ numbers were a ‘set piece’ of style and humour from two very upright and personable young men.  Loved the style of Steward Anthony Maley as he tried to manage royalty.

In the centre of all, from original spell through all circumstances to the final results, the Witch of Emma Small was essential and strong and well delivered in personality and vocally, character-wise an excellent portrayal.

This ‘once upon a time’ and ‘be careful what you wish for’ tale of twisting story is as strong as the casting and execution of dialogue and music, and with this company there is no need to pick out any stars as all were so well chosen in this stellar cast doing Sondheim, a team for KLP to be so proud of, and a show to definitely remember under a new director, the ‘younger element’ shows the bright future of theatre in this area and what a joy to behold.

Must mention excellent programme, very comprehensive and professional and attractive to read.