“Careful the tale you tell. That is the spell…” Stephen Sondheim’s deep, meaningful lyrics help to tell his tale in the musical, “Into the Woods, Jr.” which proves that “If the end is right, it justifies the beans.”
Performed by a wonderfully enthusiastic cast of children and teenagers, Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage brings this musical to Gaithersburg Arts Barn, now playing through October 29, 2017.
In a book by James Lapine, “Into the Woods, Jr.” takes a twisted look into a blend of Grimm’s fairy tales. Director Fred Zirm gears the show towards young families with some funny, campy, and even laugh-out-loud moments.
The Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage production of ‘Into the Woods, Jr.’ is a non-stop, twisted fairy tale adventure, fun for the whole family.
Familiar characters include Cinderella (an animated Katelynn Diuguid), her Stepmother (a commanding Ava Silberman) and wicked stepsisters (a hilarious Maren Lewis and Lucy Garretson), Red Riding Hood (Fiona Bradford) and the Wolf (Coley Ferragut), Rapunzel (an engaging Lucy Garretson), the Witch (a wickedly fun Nora Suliman), and Jack (and the beanstalk) (an expressive Abigail Aronne) and his mother (a caring Hana O’Looney).
The story also includes a Baker and his wife who wish to have a child, but cannot because of a Witch’s curse. It is very important to the story that the Baker be likable. Lee Schwetje as the Baker rises to the occasion. He and his equally as talented wife, played by Katie Williams, take the audience on the journey with them to find “One: the cow as white as milk, Two: the cape as red as blood, Three: the hair as yellow as corn, Four: the slipper as pure as gold.” All this will break the curse placed on them by the Witch. In what I call a “mooving” performance, Bella Vedaa plays the role of Milky White, the cow.
To help keep the story moving forward and to help explain the action on stage, Natasha Chisaka, Clara Harney, and Giogia Dallasta serve as the Narrator’s, all dressed as stage crew, costumed with black shirts with clever sayings.
Some of the funniest moments in the show are with Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Fiona Bradford is so engaging as Red Riding Hood that I and the audience just ate her performance up! Or do I mean the Wolf? Coley Ferragut does an awesome job as the Wolf, featuring large eye expressions. You really do believe that Coley as the Wolf wanted to eat Red Riding Hood for dinner!
Rapunzel’s Prince (Hayden Polsky) and Cinderella’s Prince (John Lewis) also made me laugh during the song “Agony” where they are seemingly in competition with one other in the battle over the question which Princess is harder to catch for a wife.
Even though the background music tracks are prerecorded, the sound came through loud and clear through the JBL speakers hanging above the audience. And although a few sound cues weren’t as clean as they could have been, the sound levels of the music and vocals were spot on.
The cast looked comfortable in their lovely costumes and fun make-up by Sandy Eggleston and Jennifer Morrissey Dallasta. Favorite’s include Milky White with her adorably painted face and Red Riding Hood’s shimmering red cape and white apron.
The video projections by Doe Kim and Fred Zirm added a nice theatrical element, showing video graphics relevant to each scene without upstaging the performers.
The Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage production of “Into the Woods, Jr.” is a non-stop, twisted fairy tale adventure, fun for the whole family.
Like all fairy tales, “Into the Woods, Jr.” teaches a lesson. “Everything you learn there will help when you return there.” Luckily, you don’t need to go into the woods to learn; you just need to go into the theatre.
Running Time: 75 minutes with no intermission.
“Into the Woods, Jr.” plays through October 29, 2017, at Kensington Art Theatre’s 2nd Stage, performing at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. For more information, visit online.