Am-dram group to take Ilford audience Into the Woods with production
PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:26 03 July 2017
Cinderella, Jack, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood go Into the Woods sounds like the start to a bad joke with a fairy tale twist.
But all of these classic characters’ stories intertwine in this production of the award winning Broadway musical, which is coming to the Kenneth More Theatre from June 6 to 8.
Into the Woods, with music by Stephen Sondheim and based on James Lapine’s book, tells a compelling story of the transition between childhood and maturity with a fusion of your favourite fairy tale characters.
It’s famous also from the 2014 Disney film starring Meryl Streep, James Corden and Johnny Depp.
The College Amateur Operatic Society (CAOS) is putting on the show, which takes parts of Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Cinderella.
The tale starts with the Brothers Grimm’s Rapunzel, and follows a childless baker and his wife’s quest to begin a family.
They are tasked with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse on their family tree.
On the protagonists’ journey they meet other characters, and the show is brought together with fantastic music.
The Sonheim production won the Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Book in 1987, and CAOS’ version will take on the original script and score.
Victoria Fowler, who is directing the piece, has described the musical as a “very difficult show but great fun to do”.
She says it has “really good music making the whole piece enjoyable”.
Victoria, 41, who has been with CAOS for 22 years, added she is looking forward to putting on another performance at the theatre in Oakfield Road, Ilford.
The production’s cast is made up of 40 actors, with the youngest, in the chorus, aged just 11.
Doreen Harding vice chairman of CAOS explained this was to incorporate the woodland flora and fauna that makes up the show.
“The children have been with us for a number of productions,” she explained.
“The woodland fauna will be represented by members dressed as animals with names such as Bertie Badger, Daphne Deer, Horace Hedgehog and Maxwell Mouse.
“We also have three little pigs, Hambel, Hampton and Hamilton, who are currently being taught how to trot.”
Doreen said the smaller animals will wear velvet waistcoats and plus fours, with matching bow ties and make up.
“The ladies of the chorus will represent the woodland flora such as Ash, Laurel, Willow, Hazel and Olive,” Doreen continued.
“They will be dressed in simple bark material dresses decorated with leaves. Some will have make up whilst others will have leaf decorated masks.”
It is hoped that the movement, make up and colouring of the costumes will give the right impression for each animal and tree.
The amateur dramatics company has put on annual performances at the Kenneth More Theatre for the past 23 years, with the most recent being Fiddler on the Roof in the summer of 2016.
Doreen told the Recorder the group has “a real presence in the community”, and said they also perform at residential homes and the occasional church.
The group started life as an evening class at its “spiritual home” Waltham Forest College in 1939.
During the 70s it battled for space with the North East London Polytechnic (NELP), now known as the University of East London, winning a share of premises in 1982 – which is still used for rehearsals.
Doreen encouraged people to come along to the Kenneth More Theatre for a “magical journey of heartbreak and happiness”.
“So join us into the woods, then out of the woods and happy ever after,” she added.
Into the Woods, by College Amateur Operatic Society, is showing at the Kenneth More Theatre, Oakfield Road, Ilford, from July 6 to 8.
There will be three evening performances and a matinee on Saturday.
Tickets are from £15. Call the box office on 020 8553 4466.
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