‘Into the Woods’ fun, but lacks quality

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    By BRANDON MULL

    The Midvale City Arts Council production of “Into the Woods” is enjoyable but lacks enough quality voices to make it great.

    In the musical, a baker (Scott R. Stone) and his wife (Lisa Grow) want to dispel a curse preventing them from having children. To satisfy the demands of a witch (Suzanne Walker), they go into the woods to retrieve four magical ingredients for a potion.

    The play blends characters from different fairy tales, including Cinderella (Julie Duffield), Little Red Ridinghood (Xela Grow) and Rapunzel (Jill Christensen). The show twists the events of these fairy tales, interweaving the plots.

    The first act feels like a play in itself, complete with a happy ending for all the characters who deserve one. But in the second act, the narrator dies. Everything goes awry, and the fairy tale characters find themselves confronting harsh realities.

    Because of the second act, the show examines what happens after your wishes come true. It also looks into the consequences of moral decisions.

    This play is told mostly through the music. The songs are wonderfully written, featuring several melodies where cleverly rhyming lyrics flow at breakneck speed.

    The quality of the voices in this production vary considerably.

    Xela sings the part of Red Ridinghood with talent and enthusiasm. Her bright expressions add to her presence.

    Jesse Dolce plays two parts — the Wolf and Cinderella’s prince. He was flat on some of his notes, and his voice was not very strong.

    But he nearly made up for it with stage presence. Both his exaggerated portrayal of the arrogant prince and his sleazy interpretation of the Wolf were praiseworthy.

    Most of the singers are at least competent.

    This is community theater done in a senior citizen’s center.

    But a lot of effort went into the production. They use live accompanists and the leads wear body mikes.

    The scenery is creative given the limited space. Parts of the set are giant storybooks, so scene changes can be accomplished by turning pages.

    The show falls considerably short of professional quality. Still, the strength of the material keeps it interesting.

    And most of the actors show a lot of heart in their parts, even when their voices fall short.

    “Into the Woods” plays next Friday, Saturday and Monday at 7:30 p.m.

    Tickets cost $4 for adults and $2 for children and seniors. For more information call (801) 562-4447.

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