All Over the Place

Review of Into the Woods at the 5th Avenue Theatre

Written by Shizuka Minamoto during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


Before the play began above the stage with the words "wish", The play then began. When the lights go out then you start seeing the narrator, later on the actors appear on stage and begin to bring the fairytale to life. More hanging lights with multiple colors, as well as props and colorful costumes appear. The narrator provides a brief hint to each character's storyline to give you a sense of excitement for what is about to come. Well, the issue is the narrator sounded like they were mumbling something loudly into the microphone and so did the first speaker way before the show began.

The plot and theme was telling us there are consequences to our actions. Even the smallest actions, it all has consequences. They show this by putting famously known fairy tales together into one (the tales that were mentioned are: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk.) Each character has their own wishes but there are obstacles (and consequences) to get what they desire. At one point all the characters meet up and try to work together to defeat the giant to rescue the boy.

As the play began, and the part where they introduced the characters, the way they presented the characters was rather confusing. Even as the narrator spoke and attempted to explain the main issue of the story, it was difficult to understand what they were saying. Their costumes, such as Cinderella as the poor maid, foreshadowed what was to come. However, some of the costumes still have their inaccuracies. For example the witch did not look like a witch. The supposedly witch character had a hood/scarf that makes the witch look like a grandma rather than a witch. Personally, the background music/melody and the sound effects were overused so it made it feel like a loop on repeat instead of actually something exciting. The way they tried to send a message about the theme of the story was messy and had very poor representation. The stories were all over the place, a lot of things were happening at the same time. It, in simple words, did not make any sense. The only amusing part of the play was seeing milky white. Milky White was the best one out of all. I was highly amazed and was driven away with how beautiful the cow, Milky White was. Milky White is the most drop dead gorgeous thing in the play as he drew my full attention to him. But the actors/performers did a absolutely magnificent job at playing their characters and singing, and so did the music performers but the way they portrayed the story needed a bit more improvement.

The play needs a better way to portray the theme. My reasoning on why is because accurate portrayal is really essential when it comes to a story, or in this case, a play. If the theme is accurately clear then it could really have an impact on the audience, the audience would be able to feel and engage with the play. When a story's theme is not visually and properly portrayed, it can be challenging for the audience to fully comprehend and engage with the narrative. Without visual cues that align with the intended theme, the story may appear as mere playacting or fooling around. Proper portrayal through visual elements, such as settings, costumes, and actions, is crucial for conveying the intended message and maintaining the audience's attention and understanding. One example of this is when all the characters teamed up to save the little boy from the giant.

Into the Woods was a truly impressive play. The actors have done the most amazing job on their parts and roles, Such as the way they moved, froze and sang. Their skills were clearly full of talent and hard work. However, personally, I doubt the play was successful due to some inaccuracies. People from the audience have openly said that they either fell asleep or simply just lost their attention span. This could possibly be to how the scenes and stories were all other the place or how they arranged the whole thing. I would recommend this to people who strongly enjoy fairytales or plays/drama but in general it might not be suitable for everyone’s taste.

Lead Photo: Anne Allgood, Sarah "SG" Garcia, Cayman Ilika, and Porscha Shaw. Photo Credit: Mark Kitaoka

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

This review was written as part of an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School in Jessica Fishman's Language Arts classes, taught by Press Corps teaching artists Jordi Montes and Jay Chavez.

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