Footlights Presents "Into The Woods"

After their incredibly successful sell-out production of West Side Story earlier this year, Exeter University Footlights is back with James Lapine’s spectacular Into The Woods. This will be Footlights’ largest summer production yet, performed in the city’s Barnfield Theatre.

This Sondheim classic combines beautiful music and a fairytale script with a twist. The cast and crew have only had one month to work on it, and co-directors Aaron McCrossan and Jordan Murphy stress the challenges of putting on another huge show in a much shorter amount of time, compared to the four months they had for West Side Story. With Sondheim’s notoriously complex music, this is certainly no mean feat. The songs are incredibly technical and wordy, with a true emphasis on timing, which is set to showcase how talented both the cast and musicians are.

Unlike West Side Story which boasted a talented cast of dancers, Into The Woods has virtually no dancing, and focuses much more heavily on acting. In an interview, the directors commented on the lovability of the characters who are instantly recognisable. From Cinderella and Rapunzel, to Jack from Jack in the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding, the script showcases a plethora of our favourite fairytale characters. The scriptwriter James Lapine combines these compelling fairytales with that of the Baker and his wife, who are cursed by the Wicked Witch, and unable to have children. However, the directors are also keen to highlight that Into The Woods is by no means a pantomime - in fact, far from it. The show goes back to the original fairytales, which were much darker and more sinister than what Disney has portrayed. Jordan notes, “It’s actually a really dark show. It’s a dark comedy.” His co-director Aaron comments on how the script is both “dramatic and ridiculous”, which is suggested by the compelling trailer below:

Creativity is at the heart of this production, and the directors have enjoyed being flexible with the script, adding and cutting small sections from it to bring it to life even more. Likewise, the set, props and costumes have been made by a talented aesthetics team who have been working tirelessly on a tiny budget.

Her Campus Exeter had the privilege of watching the cast and band in rehearsal before the opening night and it is safe to say that the show looks extremely promising, and we would highly recommend you get your hands on some tickets. The show opens at the Barnfield Theatre this Tuesday 3rd June with performances running until Thursday 5th with an extra matinee performance on Wednesday 4th June. Tickets can be found here on the Barnfield Theatre website. You'll be singing the songs for the rest of the summer - definitely not to be missed!

Photo credits: Katie Turner