Theatre: Into the Woods


source http://esales.roh.org.uk/

Upon arrival Tuesday evening to the Opera House studio to see the current production of Into The Woods, I couldn't help but notice the over-representation of gay men. Ok musical theatre is known for its over-representation of gay men, but this was ridiculous. Then I began to wonder, has Into the Woods become the new Wizard of Oz? Sure there is no Dorothy and no rainbow. But there is the baker who has unresolved issues with his father, the princes who keep looking for the next best thing, a wolf with an incredible sexual appetite and a wicked witch. It all seemed rather like another night on Old Compton Street. Oh and not to mention a set that looked like parts of Hampstead Heath. This all could explain why it is sold out and barely a straight person in the audience (although there was a family sitting beside me but I was in the cheap seats).

Into the Woods weaves the stories of several fairy tales together and then proceeds to tell what happens after they lived happily ever after in a very entertaining (and often hilarious) fashion. The story gets dark as it proceeds to tell a tale about the consequences of actions and responsibility but it is all a bit fun if you get past the extended second act full of angst. I saw it with my flatmate. He is not a fan of musical theatre (nor the men who go to it) so I did expect him to blurt out at any point, "This is ridiculous what am I doing here I am in the wrong gay scene?" Fortunately he didn't so I took that to be a ringing endorsement of it...

As for what I thought of it, well I thought it was a straight-forward yet classy production. It also used some opera-trained actors along with a few stars from television and theatre which mixed things up a little. Hopefully as its short run continues, the actors will be able to keep in time with the music and find all the notes in Sondheim's score. They may not have been to blame as much as the technology because the sound didn't quite seem right at various times. Anyway it is a great production of a great show. Pity you won't be able to get a ticket since all those gays probably have snapped 'em all up...

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