According to family folklore, my father - who hardcore readers of this blog may remember had thespian aspirations - was involved in the early days of The Loft Theatre in Leamington. I've never visited town or theatre before so Into the Woods at this venue was a double draw.
Sondheim's story spins every fairy-tale wish and quest into a fabulous confection of fun, song, and happy-endings... until the interval. We return to a ruthless deconstruction of the greed and cruelty that actually underpins these fantasy clichés. Anarchy reigns in the woods once the narrator is pulled into the action: a minor character casually kills a Jack's mother, the baker's family is broken up and Cinderella and Rapunzel lose their princes to newer, more exciting, damsels. "I was raised to be charming, not sincere" explains Cinder's faithless lover, the enchantingly unctuous Kenny Robinson, who also directed. Every one of the cast delighted, the ensemble pieces were brilliant, and the lavish set and OTT lighting totally supported this stylish and inspiring production. (pic by Helen Ashbourne)