INTO THE WOODS
REGENT'S Park may not quite qualify as a wood, but with a gentle summer breeze drifting through its elegant trees, this magical setting provides the perfect stage.
INTO THE WOODS
Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, NW1
REGENT'S Park may not quite qualify as a wood, but with a gentle summer breeze drifting through its elegant trees, this magical setting provides the perfect stage for Stephen Sondheim's second musical.
The storyline itself is fantastical, with a set of characters from a number of different fairytales heading into the woods to discover who they are.
You may also want to watch:
Little Red Ridinghood - brilliantly played by the effervescent Beverly Rudd - is "devoured" by a hungry and handsome wolf.
Rapunzel is kept locked up in a tower by Hannah Waddingham's chillingly terrifying witch, whose hunched back, tree-root arms and cursing, spitting voice recreates that long lost fear in the pit of the stomach only childhood baddies could once evoke.
- 1 Man killed in 'shooting' in north London
- 2 Appeal to find four children missing from north London with father and grandmother
- 3 Letters on People Friendly Streets in St Peter's
- 4 Man killed and two injured in triple shooting
- 5 Sadiq Khan warns of flooding threat to Islington from climate emergency
- 6 Thousands of care home staff yet to be vaccinated in London
- 7 Helen Anderson: Finsbury Park murder victim's father pays tribute to his daughter
- 8 Islington kids are being 'drawn into county lines drug smuggling'
- 9 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
- 10 Police looking to speak to man in connection with sexual assault
And the arrogant, debonair princes who woo Rapunzel and Cinderella - as well as the odd peasant girl - are wonderfully entertaining, bellowing out Sondheim's clever songs with panache and comic brilliance.
For the entire first act we watch the fairytale storylines interwoven together in a blur of jovial music, flirtatious fun and witty dialogue.
It's brilliant stuff, cleverly written and beautifully performed, and the modern take on the often-told tales works a treat.
But after the interval the show never quite fulfils its early potential.
Everything turns a bit dark, with a giant storming through the woods wreaking death and destruction wherever she treads.
The happy-ending of the fairytale genre is turned on its head with a menacing thud, and Judy Dench voicing the impressively constructed giant is a nice touch, but the sudden doom and gloom seems a bit of a shame after the fun and frolics of the opening two hours.
Despite its length though, this is a witty and wonderful production, the ideal show for everyone out there who swears every summer they will make it along to the open air theatre but never quite gets their act together. - ROB BLEANEY