Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews
||Into the Woods
||Roseville Theatre Arts Academy
|Date(s) of show
||September 28 - October 20, 2012
||Iíve seen Stephen Sondheimís Into the Woods
before, and Iíve felt I didnít like it. The trouble is I hadnít seen a
really good production. And this is not a good production: it is a
brilliant one. It is Roseville Theatre Arts Academyís first show with
adult actors, and it is bursting with pent-up creative energy. I was
impressed first with the acting from this remarkable assemblage of
talent. In particular I was delighted by the characterizations of Little
Red Riding Hood by Elizabeth Poore, the Witch by Erin Gabrielle, the
Wolf by Tristan Rumery, and the Princes by Rumery and Byron Roope. But
the whole cast plays their parts with verve, and it is a special
pleasure to watch (and listen to) Christi Axelson as the Bakerís Wife.
The clever dialog is great fun, and last night one could tell it
resonated with the audience from the frequent laughter.
That brings me to the music. Iíve seen musicals with a few good singers,
and quite a few mediocre ones. Not here. These are all strong Ė
sometimes even elegant Ė singers. I must say that I donít believe there
is a single hum-able tune in the whole show; yet the songs are engaging.
Sondheimís wordy and witty lyrics are delivered almost flawlessly, and I
found myself in awe of how individual singers were able to carry out the
interplay of the fast-paced snippets of lyrics that they exchange in so
many of the songs. Even more impressive is the tight coordination with
the pit musicians, led by Music Director Jennifer Vaughn on piano, and
whose efforts make the music in this musical such a success.
I should add that the set itself is extraordinary Ė much more elaborate
than I anticipated Ė and with some delightful, unexpected effects.
Another pleasant surprise is the costumes. The quality of so many of the
other elements of this show is matched by artistry of the costuming.
The presentation of this well-loved, frenetic, clever, cerebral show
that I saw on opening night has to be viewed as a triumph for Director
Michelle Raskey, the wonderfully talented cast, and the whole staff who
gave their all for this first ďMain StageĒ production at Roseville
Theatre Arts Academy.