There is something unique about fairy tales; they have the uncanny ability to engross a youthful audience and elicit nostalgia and joy from the coarsest adult. Timeless classics, such as Cinderella and Little Red Ridinghood transcend the bounds of age. "Into the Woods," written by playwright Stephen Sondheim and performed by the Aves Theatre, utilized a whimsical and fantastic storyline to instill themes of maturation and self-growth.
Sondheim interweaves the stories of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Ridinghood, to create a hodge-podge of a fairy tale ending. The central character in the play is The Baker. His family tree has been cursed by a witch through the misdeeds of his father.
Together with his wife, The Baker must collect four objects in order to ensure fertility and happiness. After his wife and several others die, The Baker finally comes to the realization that “No One Is Alone,” with a show-stopping number that concludes the show.
The production was carried by the childish antics and magical atmosphere created by the cast and crew. A rotating stage was incorporated seamlessly into the blocking, while several layers of tree lines and foliage established an open and airy backdrop.
Sophomore John Carroll’s depiction of The Baker was memorable. Faced with inner struggle and marked by doubt, Carroll maintained a serious demeanor while traversing the path to fatherhood. His vocal prowess set his character apart, while his gestures and vocal inflection captivated.
Cinderella and Jack, portrayed by Emily Kissela and Garrett Douthitt, respectively, were standout performers. Kissela’s breath support and vibrato in her upper-register seamed effortless. She developed a notably innocent character into a mature adult that complimented the inner theme of Sondheim’s work. Likewise, Douthitt transformed a lighthearted and ignorant boy into a confident giant-killer.
Although the sound quality was blemished with technical difficulties at first, A.J. Bierschwal and Ethan Smilg quickly overcame the ruffling microphones. The second act was clear and well heard.
The choices and actions of the cast showed that maturation is inevitable and that growing up doesn’t correspond with grief. Sometimes in order to live happily, one must undergo struggles and seek guidance from others. In this manner, the cast and crew left a lasting impression.
Braxton Stricker is a member of Mariemont High School’s Cappies, "Critics and Awards Program," the international program that recognizes and celebrates high school theater. Through Cappies journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools and write reviews. KyPost.com publishes the best of those reviews in support of high school theater. Twenty-three high schools in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky participate in Cappies. For more visit www.cappies.com/cin .
Top Entertainment Headlines
The Tri-State is well known for many things: Chili, baseball, and now: grilled cheese.