A new Interpretation of Sondheim Classic
Redcliffe Musical Theatre will open a new season of Into The Woods this month. Performing at Theatre 102, this reimagining of Stephen Sondheim’s classic comes with a slight twist on the traditional fairytale concept. Directed by the award-winning, Elodie Boal, with Vocal Coaching by Meg Kiddle and choreography by Juliette Connell, Boal’s vision for the show hopes to achieve something different - setting it in a post-apocalyptic world to highlight themes relevant to our community. This approach looks at the musical with a 21st-century lens in a deeper exploration of the show’s themes. “When I was first approached to direct Into The Woods, I knew I wanted it to be a fresh new take, relevant to audiences of today. I wanted to really harness the reality within a fairytale world,” said Boal. “The show is set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia and starts with a scavenging explorer who has found the last book of fairytales. We see what fairytales might look like in this corrupted future and it presents as part of her imagination. It's definitely a new interpretation, but I really think it lets us discover something new in Sondheim’s wonderful story.” As one of Sondheim’s most popular works, the show allows actors to explore a dark comedy with a fantastical storyline. The cast includes 17 local performers, with new and returning RMT-favourites grace the leading roles after an audition process that saw more than 100 apply. Jennifer B Ashley, who has toured internationally with Disney Cruise Lines and has acting credits with Neighbours and The Wrong Girl, stars as the enchanting Witch and is definitely ready to cast a spell on audiences. Ashley spoke of her experiences working in this new adaptation. “This dark, elemental, apocalyptic version encourages actors to see beyond the surface of their character and find the truth,” said Ashley. “The role of the witch is a beautiful and wonderful rollercoaster to explore. I’ve been challenged vocally, physically and emotionally and I can’t wait to share her with our audiences! This adaptation of Into The Woods allows audiences to experience the truth behind the smile.” Also debuting at Redcliffe Musical Theatre alongside Ashley, is Australian actor and performance maker, Sam Hocking as Jack. Hocking spoke of the relevance this storyline has today, especially as it coincides with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “This version of Into The Woods excites the power of imagination and this take has opened our eyes to newer meanings within the text that you would not have noticed had we gone with the traditional setting,” said Hocking. “There are aspects to the story that is incredibly relevant to today’s COVID world. The prospect of being alone hits home and can heavily affect the mental state of many people. This show serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, No One Is Alone.” Into The Woods follows the story of a Baker and his wife who want to have a child but are unable because of a Witch’s curse. It also shows; Cinderella who wishes to attend the King's Festival and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. As such, the group set off on an adventure to break the spell. However, when everyone’s wish is granted, the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results. The epic musical centres on wishes, family and choices. Boal’s production is described as an immersive experience that aims to incorporate many elements. As a playwright, Boal reiterates such a thematic approach comes from her love of interactive theatre and fractured fairytales. “There’s so much more to each fairytale character that we’ve grown up to know and adore. Playing and breaking down their layers has been an exciting way to reinvent who they might be and how they came to be that way,” said Boal. “It all comes down to how do they relate to our world now. We’ve incorporated some interesting themes to really tie back into this question - nature reclaiming its agency, consumption, trauma, mental illness - there’s a lot to discover within this show and the cast have had equal input in the collaboration.” Tickets for Into The Woods are on sale with performances from Thursday, 17 February 2022. The musical will perform at Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s Theatre 102. Visit http://www.redcliffemusicaltheatre.com for more information.