“Into the Woods” brings together the stories of “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Rapunzel” and twists it into something misleadingly dark. However, despite the darker tones, it is thoroughly enjoyable and quite comedic.
The overall plot of the musical relies on every character attempting to get a better life for themselves. Within the midst of the well-known characters, there is a Baker and his wife, whose main goal is to remove the curse set on their family by the neighborhood witch.
In the first act, the audience witnesses the light heartedness of the musical. They watch the relentless pursuit of the Baker and his wife track down the ingredients needed by the Witch so she can reverse the curse set on his family, and with every ingredient needed, there is a cross of stories.
CCPA had a wonderful understanding of the musical. With every key moment they could take to make it funny, they did and ran with it. Characters within the play would interact with the audience or annoy the pianist, who was off to the side, and get them involved. The princes, played by Tyler J. Messinger and Grant Killian, were great at using body comedy. They would dramatically exit their scenes, they would pronounce their words harshly, while singing, perfectly and entirely in-sync and they were facially expressive.
Another hilarious aspect of the musical was the use of an actor, Jason C. Leach, to play the cow, Milky White. The cow was expressive of its attitude towards other characters and again, it added a needed lightness for what was to come in the second act.
Their costuming was a more modern take, which had little to no impact on the play. The set was used effectively, despite the limited space of O’ Malley Theatre. They were able to use the theatre as part of their set and often ran around the audience’s space and interacted with them directly by addressing them or handing them a prop while they sang their song.
The Witch, played by Natalie Taylor Carioti, sang her songs with confidence and enthusiasm, all while simultaneously being menacing. The Witch was great at guiding the switch from comedic to a darker tone by helping make the play transition to become more somber.
Everyone did an amazing job in performing “Into the Woods.” It was enjoyable, well-acted and comedic, all while highlighting the point of the play: be careful what you wish for because what you wish for isn’t always what you’ll get in the end.
9 out of 10 Torches.
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