Key Youth Theatre showed a packed house exactly why it is still going strong after more than two decades with an entertaining opening night’s production of Into The Woods.
It is not the most straight-forward, easy to follow of summer musicals for the youngsters to get their teeth into. It is bitty and disjointed at times with so many characters interacting in some scenes - not a criticism, it is just the way the piece is. But thanks to the direction of Paul Crosby and his team they pulled it off to great effect with no sign of first-night nerves - and much to the appreciation of the audience.
It will, I am sure, be even more polished and slick as the run continues until Saturday.
A bewitching Alice Welby stood out with a particularly eye-catching performance as The Witch - showing off a strong voice and a nice line in character acting. She was the villain at the centre of the piece looking to regain her youth and beauty in a village far, far away, of course, at the edge of the woods.
At her mercy were the Baker and his Wife - KYT mainstays Adam Pettit and Indy Chadwick, who both made the most of the opportunities to show off their excellent voices - with Chadwick, in particular, putting in a fine comic performance in what is at times a humorous piece. Just where will they find a red cape, white cow, yellow hair and a golden slipper?
Colleen McQuillen shone too as Little Red Riding Hood, looking for grandma, as did the dopey Jack (Jorge Strowger), while the Princes - a “charming” John Wilkin and Gavin Meichan worked great together. For me their rendition of Agony (and the reprise) were two highlights.
Lizzy Parker’s soft. angelic voice brought Cinderella to life, while vocal coach Lizzie Watts made a super almost cameo appearance as Jack’s Mother - her death scene was a joy.
Special mention too for narrator Milo Roberts who had the difficult job of pulling the story together and was everywhere.
The music as ever under the watchful eye of Steve Hession was magical, and the set from Key oldtimer Michael Cross was enchanting.
You can see the show tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm, plus a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday. Contact the box office on 01733 207239 for ticket details.