Into The Woods Poster

Autumn 2014

Performances:  October 14-18 - 2014

Performed at the Leeds Carriageworks Theatre - The Studio.

About The Show

This was Leeds G&S’s second show using the Upstairs Studio space at The Carriageworks.  In 2013 we put on a small production of ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’, our first non-G&S production for over 60 years.  This proved a great experience, so this was us looking to see how it would feel for a second time.

We quickly put Into The Woods at the top of the pile of potential shows, had a good look at it, and decided it was too complex a piece to do.  We were still learning the ropes for creating these smaller productions.  The music is very tricky.  Dramatically it is intricate.  Technically it is challenging (e.g. you need a moving cow that can eat things).

So we left Into The Woods for a future year and went searching for a different show.  But…

We couldn’t find anything we wanted to stage more than Into The Woods.  It is a fabulous piece of musical theatre, in part because of its complexities.  Also, Richard (MD) had just always wanted to do it.

So we stretched ourselves, and stepped tentatively into one of Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpieces.

Fitting with the style of many of Leeds G&S’s recent productions, we decided to form the show around a non-traditional central theme. We have the woods, we have the fairytale characters, but it is all from the imaginings of a boy sitting in a playground.

Cast

  • Narrator - Phil Case
  • Cinderella - Sarah Case
  • Jack - Matt Oglesby
  • Milky White - Steve Phillips & Amy Small
  • Jack’s Mother - Judith Smith
  • Baker - Richard Pascoe
  • Baker’s Wife - Emma Smith
  • Cinderella’s Stepmother - Janet Johnston
  • Florinda - Amy Small
  • Lucinda - Emma Stirk
  • Little Red Riding Hood - Megan Henderson
  • Witch - Anita Adams
  • Wolf - Matt Stirk
  • Granny - Amy Small
  • Rapunzel - Emma Stirk
  • Rapunzel’s Prince - Steve Phillips
  • Cinderella’s Prince - Jason Weightman
  • Steward - Matt Stirk
  • Giant - Janet Johnston

 

  • Director = Sarah Case;  Musical Director = Richard Pascoe

Critical Response

Fifteen actors, all principals in their own right, were not fazed by Sondheim’s love of a tricky score and the dialogue was clearly delivered. I don’t want to pick-out any individual performers, as they were all strongly cast; the appreciative audience were treated to a very special evening and they clearly enjoyed the experience!

This was definitely a team effort – the Director, Sarah Case, also playing a wide-eyed Cinderella, gave the cast plenty to work on, some witty and clever ideas. Richard Pascoe, as Musical Director, also played the Baker, and as you would expect, drew out of his cast some memorable singing. Costumes (modern dress) and make-up were spot-on. The set, cleverly constructed for the space, was designed by Phil Case. Lighting by Steve Limb, enhanced the production. Musical accompaniment came from Kate Dooley (piano) and George Strickland (Percussion) aided by the ‘page-turner’ and rehearsal pianist Peter Hemming.

There was one small twist to the production – the Narrator, usually played by an older actor, in this production the part was played very convincingly as a 12 year old boy, who was lost in the woods, a clever twist. It just goes to show that with careful thought and talented players, anything is possible.

Mr Sondheim would have been very impressed, as I was!

 

Christine Castle - NODA North East Regional Representative – District 9

Programme