Frozen fans, prepare to have your hearts broken. Decades before Disney designed a dishonest prince or an edgy damsel, John Lapine and Stephen Sondheim had already crafted the original, alternative fairy tale. Into the Woods, a theatre production debuting in 1987, is a clever, comedic musical featuring several Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters on their quest to obtain their true wishes. The show is a grand production full of dialogue, music and intertwining plots. However, despite the tall order, Theatre Horizon effortlessly delivered a charming performance to a sold out crowd at their opening night.
Theatre Horizon is unique in that they greet their audience not as paying customers but as friends who they can’t wait to entertain. Upon entering the theatre, actors heartily greeted visitors with hellos and hugs. However, once the lights dimmed, these party hosts transformed into trained, polished professionals armed with an arsenal of talent. Cast members flawlessly performed the roles of multiple characters, sang, and played musical instruments. At the end of the performance, the cast earned an enthusiastic standing ovation. Always humble, they took one group bow and then invited the audience to mingle during the reception.
Director Matthew Decker fully embraced the unique story of Into the Woods. He honored the modern fairy tale by ditching the traditional set and costumes in exchange for a fresh twist. Characters dressed in jeans, vests and boots and the set was kept simple with a few tables, chairs and drawers. Although there was minimal glitz, Decker’s decision allowed the audience to be awestruck by actors rather than props. This was a brave, but brilliant choice as the two and half hour play was hardly a chore to watch.
Into the Woods is an ambitious production bursting with jokes, music and a theme that boldly addresses the impracticality of a happy ending. Armed with talented actors, strong voices and an astute eye, Matthew Decker has crafted a comedy that viewers can expect to be delighted by.