Be careful when you make a wish

Bexhill-based youth theatre company, In the Wings, presented a stunning interpretation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘Into the Woods’ at Bexhill Academy on 29-31 October.

Sondheim’s intricate storyline intertwines the plots of several fairy tales, combining darkness and humour with the central message to “beware of what you wish for”.

The cast members, aged 13 to 21, rose magnificently to the challenge of this technically difficult musical show.

‘Into the Woods’ has a large number of principal roles, each required to sing complex individual solos and learn numerous lines.

Every lead and supporting cast member demonstrated strong acting and vocal ability with excellent articulation and characterisation.

Of the many notable performances, particular mention must be made of Luke Hawes and Lauren Creasey as the Baker and his Wife, who were perfectly cast as the couple whose wish to have a child is the catalyst for the ensuing events.

Jade Batson as the Witch gave a powerful performance, while Ruby Edwards as Cinderella dazzled with her haunting voice. Nathan McDonald as Jack and Maisie Edwards as Little Red Riding Hood gave brilliant, spirited performances. Comedic flamboyance was provided by the two Princes and Cinderella’s stepmother and sisters.

Every character was performed to a very high standard, and all deserve a mention for their contribution to a wonderful show: Rapunzel, Jack’s Mother, the Wolf, Granny, the Mysterious Man, the Steward, the Cow, not forgetting the Narrator, who competently held the story together.

The set, designed and built by Dave Holmes and Simon Allen, provided a perfect backdrop to the proceedings, and the slick scene and props changes were capably managed by Penny Hayes and Denise Boghurst.

Gail Batson and Hayley Edwards were responsible for the excellent costumes, while the professional band, directed by Carl Greenwood, further enhanced an exceptional evening’s entertainment.

The show’s Co-Directors, Bernard Simon and Rachel Kennedy, supported by vocal coach Lesley van Egmond, should all be congratulated for putting on such a high quality show, and for nurturing the talent of the young people of Bexhill.

Review by Alison Ridout