Review: “Into the Woods”

I’ll be honest: the last time that I saw a theater production of “Into The Woods,” I fell asleep. That said, I had high hopes for Concordia Theater Department’s take on Stephen Sondheim’s famous musical. To say the least, I was not disappointed in the slightest. Between stellar performances by the narrator (Bee Wright) and Little Red Riding Hood (Sophia Kilndt) and a playful take on the morally gray musical, I was blown away and almost on the edge of my seat. 

At first, I was confused. The set is essentially a giant playground. I haven’t seen anything like it before. When waiting for the performance to start, that was the only thing that the audience saw, so it left a lot to wonder. Were we going to see someone’s childhood unfold through the course of the various numbers? How is the slide going to be used? Turns out, the set is quite dynamic, so when they wanted a change of setting, all they had to do was rotate a section and it changed the entire setting. In my opinion, it was cleverly put together because not only was it functional, it reminded the audience that these stories are our childhood. 

In addition to the playground-like set, the costumes solidified that the production was a modern take on “Into The Woods.” I was blown away from the costume choices. From red Converse to black Crocs to a bright-red sequined jumpsuit, they made the performance much more relatable to an audience of college students. 

Performances by Lance Morlock and Carlos O’Ryan were personally my favorite. I was one of the many people clapping at their Saturday night performance when O’Ryan first appeared as the wolf. I heavily enjoy the comedic approach that they took to their roles both as the witch and the wolf/Prince Charming, respectively. 

I was a little disappointed when it came to the song “Agony.” Personally, I think that they could have been a smidge more dramatic. With the performance that they gave, I think they pulled it off, but they could have done more with it. However, when it came to the other musical numbers, they were spot on and quite enjoyable. 

From my viewing of this showing of Concordia’s “Into The Woods” directed by Rachel M. Stevens, I think that it was definitely worth the watch.

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