Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s wonderful musical, Into The Woods, graces the stage at Randolph Academy in early August. Randolph Academy’s young, enthusiastic, talented and professional theatre students successfully take the reins of a tale that combines the characters from many classic Brothers Grimm fairytales in a charming and sometimes downright hilarious fashion.
From Cinderella (Alyssa Minichillo) to Red Riding Hood (Sacha Stewart), Rapunzel (Stephanie Megraw-Fabian) to Jack (Adam Turgeon) and his beanstalk, the mishmash of storied characters and narratives centers around two unlikely protagonists, the Baker (Troy Goldthorp) and the Baker’s Wife (Andrea Page). Burdened with the inability to have children of their own, the Baker and his Wife agree to aid a neighbouring Witch (Meaghan Henstridge), in order to change their fate. They meet famed Brothers Grimm characters as they venture into the woods near their village in order to procure a series of items the Witch demands of them. All the while, the audience is being led by the Narrator (Ali Froggatt), who eventually gets pulled into the whole ordeal as well.
With an ensemble of strong singing and acting talent, it is difficult to single out certain individuals for their performances over others, as it is clear how much of themselves each member of the cast and crew has put into the production. Having said that, the clear audience favourites are the two Princes (Mathieu Aubin and Danik McAfee); their scenes become clear highlights of the entire musical. Aubin and McAfee do not only steal the scenes they are in, but they are aware that they do, and they clearly bask in the glow of the moments they have to share with the audience. Their duet of “Agony”, as well as the reprise in the second half of the musical, is outstanding. They are rivalled only by the entire ensemble singing together in the opening and finales of each act. The extremely catchy and memorable “Into The Woods” verses are sure to stick long after the show is over.
Clever stage design (by Anna Treusch) allows moving pieces to shift in and out of the woods seamlessly, creating a number of unique-looking locations with little time between scenes. Overall, the set helps to illustrate the dangers and mysteries of the woods that all the characters must confront throughout the show.
Randolph Academy’s Into The Woods is full of energy and passion. The ensemble is obviously a tight-knit group who all put the show above themselves, and it shows in the overall product, that being a fantastic rendition of a Sondheim classic.
Into The Woods runs until August 9th at Randolph Centre for the Arts. Tickets are $22. Visit www.randolphacademy.com for more details.