Don't be too frightened of the cast of Lyric Stage Company's "Into the Woods". Their show is quite good. Credit: Mark S. Howard
“Into the Woods” is one of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular musicals and if the Lyric Stage Company’s current production is any indication, it’s easy to see why.
Director Spiro Veloudos almost magically transforms the small confines of the Lyric into the perfect backdrop for Sondheim and James Lepine’s musical reinterpretation of classic fairytales. The big, busy show, which in lesser hands could easily overwhelm the space, is as close to perfect as the Lyric has ever come.
The adapted mishmash of Grimm fairytales exposes the dark underbelly of happily-ever-after as the likes of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack (of beanstock fame) pay the price for their self-serving wishes. And while many of your favorites meet ill-fated endings, Veloudos and company have imbued the production with enough humor, tenderness and passion to make it a delightful journey.
The Witch (Aimee Doherty) starts the ball of destruction rolling with a curse on the Baker (John Ambrosino) and his Wife (Lisa Yuen). In order to overcome the curse, they must find a red cape, blonde hair, a golden slipper and a white cow. So begins the intertwining of the classic fables.
Doherty’s outstanding turn as the Witch includes many vengeful, menacing moments as well as a gut-wrenching performance of “Stay With Me.” Erica Spyres proves, yet again, she can do anything with her flawless portrayal of Cinderella and tear-inducing rendition of “No One Is Alone.”
Ambrosino and Yuen also shine as the only original characters in the show, while Maritza Bostic enjoys several near scene-stealing moments as Little Red Riding Hood.
While danger lurks around every corner in these “Woods,” this stellar ensemble makes the trek worthwhile.
If you go
“Into the Woods” Through June 29 Lyric Stage 140 Clarendon St., Boston $32 - $70 617-585-5678 www.lyricstage.com