Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising
Once upon a time, there lived a baker with his wife in a quiet village. They lived a happy life, and all they ever wished for was a child of their own.


For years they tried, in vain, until one day a witch revealed to them a secret curse that had been placed on the baker, an evil spell cast on his family line which would end with him. But the witch would be able to lift the curse, if the couple brought her four special items from deep in the woods.

Eager to have their wish fulfilled, the baker and his wife venture into the woods in search of the items. In their quest they meet the characters of four famous fairy tales – Jack, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood.

into-the-woods2Being unfamiliar with the original stage musical, it is not possible to compare the film to it, but the general consensus of critics claim the adaptation is very faithful. As a standalone film however, the story feels like it doesn’t quite belong on the screen. The songs are grand, the setting is grand but despite the cinematic scope available to create something magnificent, it feels somewhat stifled and limited. The performances are mostly theatrical, with wide-eyed child actors singing their hearts out and big names filling the panto-like roles as Meryl Streep dons the villain’s costume and Johnny Depp briefly appears in a creepy cameo as the Big Bad Wolf. The rest of the characters are also appropriately caricatured – the evil stepmother and stepsisters, sweet Cinderella, trapped Rapunzel and, to great comical effect, the two Princes. (With the exception of James Corden who is simply, James Corden.)

The story is an imaginative amalgamation of the four fairy tales, tied together with the story of the baker and his wife. The Disney stamp ensures it is suitable viewing for younger audiences but there is a good blend of comedy and darkness to appeal to adults. For lovers of musicals, it certainly hits all the marks, but if conversing in song is not something you like to sit through then perhaps it’s not an option. Overall, the film’s success at the box office proves that it has not failed to entertain, but for some of us the reality remains that a stage production belongs in one place only that will do it justice, and that is the stage.

Patty Papageorgiou-Axford

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