The Grand Theatre High School Project is one of the most amazing moments in the Grand Theatre season. By no stretch do these productions feel, look or sound like what you’d imagine a student production to look like. In fact, the costuming, production and acting is on par with any of the premium London theatres other productions.
It’s been three years since the student troupe has been on stage, after hosting a stellar run of Titanic: The Musical in 2019, but the wait was enthusiastically worth it. The current production of the fantastic musical Into The Woods, runs until Saturday (Oct. 1).
Armed with an inventive set and theme that places the actors inside a library, the story unfolds as if the pages of the original book by James Lapine are being turned along the way. The 26-member cast devour your attention as they tell a tale so big, it could only come from a story book.
The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, as well as several others that become obvious as they happen.
The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.
The voices were big, the voice were bold, the voices have no fear… sorry about that, this review almost broke out in song. And that’s because it’s an addictive show that sits with you for days after you watch it, especially when it’s an entertaining cast with good choreography, courageous voices and a director that keeps the show moving. It is a long musical after all – not as long as 2019’s Titanic, but still chalks up two hours of your time.
The students of the High School project were not only capable of this production, it almost felt like they could have pulled off something a bit bigger. Players of note were Ella Brophy as Snow White, Karissa Kern as Little Red Riding Hood, Cindy Li as Cinderella and the princely duo of Kieran Prouty and Leo Shuit. A special nod goes out to Isabella Español, whose Milky White kept the audience laughing throughout the show.
Into The Woods is only from 1984, but its now considered a classic and is worthy of a wonderful evening out with the Grand Theatre’s High School Project production. Tickets and more information is available at grandtheatre.com.