Review: Into The Wood, King’s Lynn Players

Into The Woods cast, King's Lynn Players
Into The Woods cast, King's Lynn Players

REVIEW: Into the Wood, King’s Lynn Player, Guildhall Theatre

If you go down to the woods today – you are sure of a big surprise if it is Into The Woods, the latest production from the King’s Lynn Players.

This Stephen Sondheim musical intrigues, delights and even shocks a little bit as it takes a spirited and somewhat twisted romp through the already rather dark fairytales of the Brothers Grimm.

Before Walt Disney, well Disneyfied them, fairytales wre not all the sweetness of light that we think of them today.

Indeed, even Walt’s original Sleeping Beauty had the wicked stepmother ending up wearing a pair of red-hot clogs as punishment for her evil ways before it was changed to make it more ‘child-friendly’.

This show features all your favourites: Cinderella (Ashton White), Jack the Giant Slayer (Ewan Grummett), Little Red Ridinghood (Jessica Perillo), good-looking Ugly Sisters (Isabel Harmer-Borley and Claire Mellor) and a statutory witch (Emma Small). There is also a Prince Charming (Tom Tree), his brother (Matt Austin) and a ravenous wolf (Ian Gooda).

Plus a narrator (Ian Ding) who comes to a sticky end.

But the narrative is driven by the Baker (Tom Watson) and his wife (Eleanor Buckingham) who are set the task by the witch of collecting a red cape, hair like corn, shoes of pure gold and a white cow – which is where Milky White, a cross between a panto cow and War Horse, comes in.

The theme is wishes. What do you wish for? And once you have got what you wished for, do you want it?

The songs are often plaintive and in the minor key. The lyrics, of course, by Sondheim, a treasure trove of imagination and humour.

It’s a challenging piece. It has a sort of happy ending at the end of Act 1 before reality (in this unreal world) crashes in during the second part.

Well done particularly to Tom Watson, Eleanor Buckingham and Ashton White for carrying the bulk of the storyline but everyone was superb – as was the orchestra with a faultless performance.

Into The Woods continues until Saturday.

Mark Leslie