THEATRE REVIEW - Into the Woods, Act II Theatre Company, South Holland Centre, Spalding

The cast of Act II Theatre Company's production of the musical, Into the Woods, written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.
The cast of Act II Theatre Company's production of the musical, Into the Woods, written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.
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A wonderful way to walk through the wild woods

In her director’s notes for Act II Theatre Company’s programme accompanying the epic version of the Grimms’ Fairy Tesles-inspired musical, Into the Woods, Charlotte Gernert said it was “without doubt, the hardest musical our Music Theatre class has ever performed”.

The eye-catching and truly captivating result of the cast, crew, musicians and volunteers’ “tireless work”, as Charlotte described it, bore splendid fruit at the South Holland Centre for four nights and five shows on Wednesday through to Saturday.

To take four of the most enduring fairy stories in history, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, and then subject a young cast, some of whom are preparing to take GCSEs, AS and A-levels this summer seems almost cruel.

But the cast carried it off with distinction, supported by an orchestra mostly drawn from students at Spalding School of Music.

It seems unjust to single out individual cast members, but Alex Gilman as Little Red Riding Hood was a star right from the moment she first made the South Holland Stage her own.

However, Alex had strong competition from Connie Hudson (The Baker’s Wife), Sophie Gale (Mysterious Man), Harry Higgins (Cinderella’s Prince) and Amy Green (Jack’s mother).

As for James Girard (The Baker), Seren Cave (The Witch) and Dominique Spinks (Cinderella), it’s about time the National Youth Theatre (whose alumni includes Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, Michelle Dockery, Colin Firth, Felicity Jones, Matt Smith and David Walliams) paid Spalding a visit.

How can Act II Theatre Company possibly top this?

Review by Winston Brown