Into the Woods performance deserves praise

To the Editor:

Recognizing that it is sort of silly to write a review of a review, or right a wrong review, I must take exception to a few of the remarks made in last week’s Record regarding Into the Woods.

For example, Karl Hein and Keiko Woliver did a lovely job as Jack and his cow; the performances emphasized the genuine confusion and innocence of the situation. Jack is basically dumb and his relationship with the cow has far more to do with his domineering and overprotective mother. The cow was sweet and Woliver made the most of the part, which is amazing since she was playing what is usually nothing more than a prop. She played the cow as Jack’s friend, and like a true friend she can be both affectionate and critical. The reviewer’s evidence of a bestiality theme comes from a bit of stage business: Jack licks a hen. What’s left out in the review is what precedes that action: Jack and Little Red Riding Hood are involved in a very childish game of “top this.” Red licks her knife; Jack licks his hen. I guess you had to be there.

The reviewer complains about the opening scene but does not understand what is going on. Indeed, the actors are “trapped” in front of a curtain, but this is dictated by the original author and director. They are trapped on the flat pages of a story book. It is after all a fairy tale.

When the reviewer objects to similarities between the wolf and the prince he fails to realize that these similarities are, again, exactly what was intended by the original creators of the show. The seducer of Cinderella and the Baker’s wife is merely a wolf in prince’s clothing.

All in all, I was amazed and charmed by this show. Into the Woods has been a favorite for a long time and the Cap and Bells production made me see Sondheim and Lapine’s work in a different light and discover new things to like about it. All the actors, musicians, stage crew, and craftspeople have much to be proud of.

Peter Giordano

Government Documents Librarian