|Courtesy of SF Playhouse|
|Corinne Proctor as the girl who cried wolves|
"Into the woods to bring some bread to Granny who is sick in bed. Never can tell what lies ahead, for all that I know, she's already dead." So sings "Little Red Riding Hood in "Into the Woods," a musical which takes two ancient mediums -- the fairy tale and the musical play -- and merges them into a sinister third entity.
In James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's ghoulish fairy tale mashup Jack experiences sexual awakening at the far end of the beanstalk, Little Red encounters rape culture, and Cinderella and Rapunzel's Princes' eyes wander to "a beauty asleep" in a tower and a maiden in a glass casket with a "dwarf standing by."
The crude, cautionary violence of the Grimm's tales is on mocking display, tempered in this production by additions like selfie-snapping stepsisters. Dark humor lights the morally gloomy woods, and Sondheim's score and lyrics are aurally breathtaking and orally tricky (the lyrics are very verbose).
The journey into the inconstant, metaphorically resonant woods is grim in every sense, but the SF Playhouse production, with its ingenious set and local talents like the golden-voiced Monique Halfon and painfully funny Jeffrey Brian Adams is anything but. The Exhibitionist got a chance to chat backstage with Monique Halfon (Cinderella,) Corinne Proctor (Little Red Riding Hood,) and Louis Parnell (Narrator and Mystery Man,) and the director and co-founder of the Playhouse, Susi Damilano.More »