Off Broadway Review: A Stripped-Down ‘Into the Woods’

January 23, 2015 3:03 AM

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Off Broadway Review: A Stripped-Down ‘Into the Woods’

Just to get it straight: This is not the movie version of “Into the Woods” with Meryl Streep. This is the cutesy Fiasco Theater version that originated at the McCarter Theater in 2013. Stripped down to its underpants by co-directors Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, the Sondheim/Lapine musical is performed in minimalist story-theater fashion by ten actors who play multiple roles and assemble their own sets and costumes from found-object props. The show’s playful spirit is best caught by music director Matt Castle, pounding out the score on an upright piano that might have come out of a Storyville bordello.

Although the performances are uneven and the effects aren’t as clever as the company would like to think they are, there’s still a lot to like in this traveling-circus version of the 1987 landmark musical. The music, for a start, sounds amazingly rich and melodic for being played on an upright piano...

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