When I went: Summer 2011
Location: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London
Performers: Hannah Waddingham (Witch), Valda Aviks (Grandmother), Billy Boyle (Mysterious Man), Gaye Brown (Cinderella’s Stepmother), Sophie Caton (Snow White / Harp), Marilyn Cutts (Jack’s mother), Alice Fearn (Rapunzel), Helen Dallimore (Cinderella), Judi Dench (Voice of Giant), Mark Goldthrop (Steward), Amy Griffiths (Lucinda), Mark Hadfield (Baker), Eddie Manning (Narrator), Amy Ellen Richardson (Florinda), Beverley Rudd (Little Red Riding Hood), Jenna Russell (Baker’s Wife), Ben Stott (Jack), Simon Thomas (Rapunzel’s Prince), Gemma Wardle (Cinderella’s Mother), Michael Xavier (Wolf / Cinderella’s Prince)
Creative team: Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics), Timothy Sheader (director), James Lapine (writer)
Approximate price: £30
Special points: Twisted humour
Best bit: Agony
If I could change one thing: More consistent songs
Into the Woods is one of Sondheim’s more famous works, and was the subject of a 2015 Disney film featuring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. It is quite divisive; those who like it tend to have a darker sense of humour and a liking for non-traditional stories. The hallmarks of Sondheim are all here, with plenty of up-and-down tunes and creepy characters.
Sitting in the open air at Regent’s Park theatre was a new experience and a welcome one, but I’m not sure it would have been as fun if it had rained. Hannah Waddingham was particularly good as the Witch, and Simon Russell and Michael Xavier were especially funny as the Princes in the Agony number. The production was well put together and great fun.