The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

WEEKENDER / Entertainment

January 20, 2012

Times flies when you have ‘Into the Woods’ fun


ASHTABULA — From “Once Upon a Mattress” we get the song “They all lived happily, happily, happily ever after”, and The Fantasticks  gives us ‘happy ending’ in “Soon It’s Gonna Rain.”

The first act of GB Community Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” revisits the fairy tales we grew up with, and perhaps the ones we tell our children and grandchildren. 

On the Ashtabula Arts Center’s stage we meet Cinderella and Prince Charming, Jack of beanstalk notoriety, Little Red Riding Hood and an intriguing wolf, Rapunzel, her mother and her prince; the baker and his wife; the mean stepmother and even uglier stepsisters and two cows, a chicken, and a flock of eye-pecking birds.

At the end of the first act we have seen a modern day interpretation of how they all come to the Disney-type endings that each of us is familiar with.  But……..

With the second act comes the continuation of the tales of ‘happy’ that wind up being not so happy. The giant’s wife is rather upset that her husband has been killed and wishes to avenge his loss. As she begins the search for Jack, she destroys most everything in her path.  Characters are bumped off much like Agatha Christie did it in “And then there were None.”

The cast of “Into the Woods” is a pleasant conglomeration of new talent — vocal and otherwise — familiar actors, and some who have been missing from the stage for more than a decade. And director Bob Godfrey has done a commendable job of matching abilities with roles.

Though some might find the almost 3-hour production a bit lengthy, the time flies because folks are having fun. The set is well thought out, almost magical in appearance, and works well. The costuming may be some of the best on that stage in a while.

This cast provides laughs and entertainment throughout the production. Some of hilarity comes from the technical department with the animation of creatures that play important roles in the stories. On opening night there were a few problems with sound, but I would guess that those will have been remedied by the time the curtain goes up tonight.

On a cold, wintry Ashtabula night, the Ashtabula Arts Center just might be the place to be to warm up with a slightly different view of the prince who confessed that he was brought up to be charming but not sincere,  as well as other personality quirks of some of our favorite childhood characters.

“Into the Woods” is on the board tonight and Saturday at 8 and Sunday afternoon at 2.  Next weekend’s performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8.  For ticket information, phone the box office at 964-3396.

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