Tag Archives: Into the Woods

The Last Five Years: Music Theatre Society in action once again

Members of the University Music Theatre Society, not content with resting on their laurels after a tremendously successful spring production of ‘Into the Woods’ at the Whitstable Playhouse, are back once again this term with two events, the first of which is next week, ‘The Last Five Years.’

Production poster
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Jason Robert Brown`s emotionally powerful and intimate musical is about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The narrative follows Jamie’s story chronologically from start to finish, while seeing Cathy’s in reverse order; the two characters meet only once during the course of the show – at their wedding.

Director Lucie Nash, who’s also starring as Cathy in the performance, is very excited at the prospect. “”It’s a must-see for lovers of contemporary music or theatre everywhere,’’ she enthuses, ‘’a beautifully written musical with an unusual dramatic twist.’’’ Anyone who saw the Society’s production of ‘Into the Woods’ (reviewed in a previous article here) will remember Lucie’s scene-stealing appearance as the Baker’s Wife in the highly accomplished production of Sondheim’s musical last term.

Alongside Lucie as Jamie is the excellent Richard Simpson, a former member of the University Chamber Choir last seen in tremendous form as the Baker in ‘Into the Woods’ last term, whilst the musical direction is once again in the assured hands of conductor Adam Abo Henriksen, who also oversaw the musical side of the Sondheim at the Whitstable Playhouse.

The performances are on Wednesday 30th May, Thursday 31st May and Friday 1st June, all at 8pm, in Darwin Lecture Theatre 3, Darwin College, University of Kent, Canterbury.

Tickets are a mere £5, with all profits in support of the Dogs Trust; find out more on their Facebook page here.

There will be a final flourish from the entire Music Theatre Society on Saturday 9 June, when it returns to the Gulbenkian Theatre for ‘There’s No Business Like Show-Business!‘ as part of the University’s Summer Music celebrations (details online here), under the direction of Lisa Crowhurst. Catch them if you can!

Out of the Woods to touch the stars: triumphant success for Music Theatre Society

The curtain has sadly fallen for the last time on this year’s production by the Music Theatre Society, and their assured performance of Sondheim’s Into the Woods that never puts a foot wrong. A strong cast and crew combined to give a professional production that at times transcended the auditorium and swept the audience beyond the theatre into the dark moral territory of Sondheim’s show in overwhelming fashion.

Into the WoodsAs Cinderella, Cheryl Ahmet demonstrated a refined, clear tone, and sang ‘No-one Is Alone’ in particular with a touching simplicity that was deeply moving.

Tenor Richard Simpson as the Baker projected great stage presence, and showed he had a clear insight into the musicality of his arias; he sang with considerable nuance to phrasing, and there’s a fine voice there as well. His delivery of ‘No More’ was full of subtlety and emotion, and held the attention of a rapt audience. Jenni Stewart played Little Red Riding Hood’s impudent childishness to perfection, and her face-muscles must have been working overtime as she portrayed the full range of impish expressions of the ever-snacking child.

The two princes were in very jolly form – the line ‘I was raised to be charming, not sincere’ was greeted with an appreciative and spontaneous round of applause.

Star of the show, however, has to have been scene-stealing Lucie Nash who, as the Baker’s Wife, was in inspired form as she painted the full spectrum of her character’s emotional range; moving from heart-rending desire for a child to puckish swagger and sultry seductress with the Prince, her comic timing in particular was immaculate, and the on-stage rapport with Richard Simpson as the Baker had a genuine warmth.  Moving around the stage with an ease that radiated confidence, her ‘Moments in the Woods’ aria was especially beautifully crafted, and sensitive to the nuances in the score.

The orchestra and singers were held together well by the efficient direction of conductor Adam Abo Henriksen.

All in all, this is a triumphant achievement for director and this year’s society President, Lisa Crowhurst. The overall integrity of her sure-footed directorial vision was alive to the sophistication of both Sondheim’s music and text, and its clarity allowed a natural ebb and flow to the narrative drama in a manner which allowed the nuances of the players and the changing emotional and moral relationships between the characters to stand clear.

Music Theatre SocietyBy the time you read this, the run will have come to its end and the woods will have been cleared; but the entire company can look back on three days of terrific accomplishment in the seaside playhouse.  A triumphant achivement for the cast, crew and Society: bravo.

Let’s go Into the Woods…

The University’s Music Theatre Society is currently  getting ready to take you ‘Into the Woods’ next week, as it brings Sondheim’s musical to the Playhouse, Whitstable.

Into the WoodsFrom Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 March, Sondheim’s music will be resounding around the seaside town’s theatre auditorium to accompany the darker adventures of some of the better-known characters from the Brothers Grimm’s classic fairy-tales.

At the helm of the orchestra this year is Masters student and tenor with the Chamber Choir, Adam Abo Henriksen, who is relishing the opportunity to get to grips with an orchestra. A member of the Chamber Choir for four consecutive years, Adam has also previously conducted and played the piano for the student vocal group, Sing!, and sung with the University Chorus. He’s also been spotted singing with a barbershop group around the campus as well.  Some of the University Music Scholars will be playing in the orchestral pit for the production.

Evening performances begin at 7.45pm, and there’s also a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £12.00 / £7.00 (concessions), and can be booked online here, or contact the booking office on 01227 272042

Visit the ‘Into the Woods’ Facebook page here.

And to whet your appetite, here’s the original Broadway cast version of the intimately heart-rending ‘No-one is Alone’ and ‘Children will Listen.’ These songs do what Sondheim does best: they reach into your soul without your realising. Prepare to be moved…