Theatre Review: Into The Woods – Can’t See The Good For The Trees, Or Of Dandies, Darkness And Destiny


Bruce Dennill

Writer. Reader. Singer. Songwriter. Believer. Likes to learn.

All content by Bruce Dennill first published on pARTicipate, republished with permission.
Bruce Dennill


Into The Woods / Directed by Steven Stead / Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, Fourways, Johannesburg

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When casting around for source material for a musical, there’s not much richer on offer than fairy tales. Complex, detailed, full of lessons, occasionally horrifying – they’re wonderful as is (just add music), and they’re even better when they’re twisted with intent, as Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine have done in Into The Woods. That intent is ambiguous, but effective to a greater or lesser degree whichever perspective you might embrace.

Certainly, the mash-up of elements of the tales of (mainly) Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack And The Beanstalk creates and colours in a range of grey areas smudging the lines between good and evil and right and wrong. But there are also examinations of people’s tendencies to make terrible decisions for very little reason or reward, or to react to similar behaviour differently…

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