Into The Woods

Aug 20 2017 | By More

★★★★☆   Magical

Assembly Hall: Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2017
Review by Dylan Taylor

Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods – on at Assembly Hall until August 27 – is given an enchanting and stylish treatment by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Into the Woods, by now an established piece within the musical theatre repertoire, follows the intermixing adventures of several fairytale characters taken from the classic stories of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault.

A scene from Into the Woods. Pic RCS

Christopher Rowney here acts as narrator, presenting segments of the story with a Shakespearean flair that really brings out the magical atmosphere.

Characters such as Little Red Riding Hood (Abigail Stephenson), Rapunzel (Katelin Wight), and Jack (Osian Garmon) are brought together through the meddling of The Baker (Eu Jin Hwang) and his wife (Lori Flannigan), who must find ingredients to lift the curse of infertility which has been placed upon them by an old witch. Hwang and Flannigan work excellently together, and both bring some impressive singing to their charismatic personas.

The singing is in fact first-rate all around. Philippa Cassar as Cinderella, and Caroline Lyell as the witch are particular standouts, and Eric James Davidson as The Mysterious Man smoothly handles his parts on No More. Preston Smith, as the Wolf, brings a dynamic voice to match his energetic leaps about the stage in his amusing performance of Hello, Little Girl.

The play’s most comic moments are played to perfection by the talented real-life twins Peter and Andras Horvath, representing the two princes who eventually wed Cinderella and Rapunzel, respectively. They do a great job playing up the trope of the Prince(s) Charming, projecting their voices with a tongue-in-cheek eloquence, and showcasing their powerful voices in their duet for Agony. Seeing Peter Horvath riding with pride on his trusty steward (Andrew Sowrey) is bound to get some laughs.

delightfully self-absorbed trio

Helping to round out the cast are Lydia Davidson as Jack’s Mother, and the delightfully self-absorbed trio of Emma Ochia as Cinderella’s Stepmother, Ellie Rose Guillory as Lucinda, and Izzy Bardon as Florinda.

Despite some occasional imbalances between the cues of the singers and those of the band, the music is for the most part handled with finesse by musical directors James Harrison and Robert Wilkinson.

Michael Howell’s direction ensures that the design work of Richard Evans and the lighting of Grant Anderson are given full appreciation. The more the actors glide over the stage’s multiple levels, slide under wooden boards, and disappear into castle-like archways, the greater is the sense that everything is being kept meticulously under control.

The show’s professionalism is perhaps most obvious in the musical numbers which bring all the major cast members together in ensemble performances. The play’s titular song in particular is handled with great spirit.

The cast and crew here demonstrate that quality is a concern for all involved. Bringing a great sense of fun, excitement, and magic to their excellent staging, the RSC should have no problem bewitching both fans and non-fans of musical theatre.

Running times: 1 hour (no interval)
Assembly Hall, Mound Place, EH1 2LU (venue 35)
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 August 2017
Daily, 3pm
Tickets and details:

Details on the RCS at the Fringe website:

Company Twitter: @RCStweets


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Comments (1)

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  1. Allie Dixon says:

    Disappointed that your reviewer (as many times before) didn’t notice or think worthy of comment, the amazing costumes designed and made by RCS. Why do so many of your reviewers omit this most crucial element of any stage performance?