I am very partial to a Sondheim musical, and Into the Woods is a particular favourite. I hadn’t been to the Cockpit before, and was pleasantly surprised by its reasonably comfy seats (certainly no less comfy than the New Vic) and the particular care taken over settling anyone with mobility problems into their seats first, so they didn’t have to stand in the first-come-first-served queue.
The production was staged in the round, with clever use of builders’ pallets and ladders to represent the woods. The entire central space was strewn several inches thick with wood chippings, which looked (and smelled) effective, but raised quite a lot of dust ( that had to be sprayed with water to damp it down during the interval.
The cast was large, with no doubling up on roles. The Witch was very strong, as was Cinderella. The Princes were princely, charming and funny. Little Red Riding Hood was outstanding. The only disappointment in terms of singing was Jack’s Mother, who was singing at the very bottom (and sometimes off the bottom end of) her range, and so wasn’t able to achieve the volume needed to match the other voices. She made up for it with her acting skills, giving us a picture of a woman flattened by poverty, briefly lifted by a windfall. A very moving performance.
Props were minimal, and clever, with no attempt to make them realistic, but I think the various babies should have been slightly larger.
This might not have been the most “polished” of performances, but it was a cheerful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.