Head ‘Into the Woods’ With Sondheim, Off the Wall
Patrick McGuire enters
the stage on a skateboard as Jack, who will soon head out to sell his beloved
cow for some magic beans. Jack wears a black T-shirt featuring the profile of a
white pistol. Lawrence J. Lukasavage, in milkman’s attire, portrays the cow in
a largely silent but surprisingly effective performance. Jacqueline Roush
appears in a janitor’s jumpsuit as Cinderella; Marilyn White dresses as a
homeless woman for the role of the witch.
Sondheim’s sinister look
at fairy tales slides across the stage with an enjoyable patchwork of
performances. Roush strikes the perfectly poised demeanor of a traditional
musical heroine, which contrasts cleverly against the endearing comedy of Liz
Mistele’s cartoonish portrayal of Little Red Riding Hood. Of course, things get
more complicated as the happy endings of the first act begin to shatter at the
beginning of the second act. Little Red was horribly violated by Eric Nelson’s
“wolf” (in denim, black leather jacket and werewolf Twilight T-shirt).
Traditional fairy tale
characters collide in a complex interaction that ends in what could be
described as a disaster musical. The production carries it quite well, anchored
by a very affecting portrayal of a baker (Christopher Elst) and his wife
(Sharon Rise) willing to resort to witchcraft in an effort to conceive a child.
Off the Wall Theatre’s production of Into the Woods runs through Aug. 8.