In March 2011, Canterbury Operatic Society presented Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's clever retelling of some of Europe's classic fairy tales, all woven together with a story that explored the power of the words "I wish" and the joys and pains of the relationships between parents and their children.
Probably the Society's most ambitious show to date, Into the Woods features complex music and an array of unique characters. Directed by Stephen Cresswell, with musical direction by John Mitchell, it was performed at the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury, which proved to be an excellent venue for the show, making the audience feel that they were taking the journey into the woods along with the characters.
Into the Woods won the Society its third consecutive Accolade of Excellence for our NODA district. Our review from Sylvia Blogg cited many aspects of the production which she thought commendable, including the simple but effective set, the ability of the cast to project, the direction (of movement, characterisation and music) and many individual performers. Her concluding remarks were "Congratulations to the Canterbury Operatic Society for embarking on such an ambitious project and attaining such a high standard!" The show was also named as Best Musical of 2011 by Pride in Canterbury.
Photos by Harry Kilb
Writing for thisiskent, Nerissa Bower said the "visually stunning production" had "enchanted" the audience. She partcularly praised the comic moments for being "spot-on."
A featured letter to the Kentish Gazette commented on "fantastic performances all round" and "splendid quality".
On Stage Corner, Sam Grant said the show had converted her from scepticism about Stephen Sondheim and was "a fine piece of work".
Items of correspondence received by the Society included praise such as "there was not a weak link in the cast", "as crisp a show as the one I saw on the West End" and "the cast were all excellent and perfectly cast in each of their roles."