“Into the Woods”: Sondheim at his Best

Review in the Economist

Review in the Economist

Review in the Economist

 

STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S fairy-tale musical melange “Into the Woods” features the only rhyme-less song in all his works: “I Guess This Is Goodbye”, a short ode to a cow, sung by Jack, of Beanstalk fame. It speaks to the relentless genius of Sondheim and the greatness of “Into the Woods” that this apparent throwaway was actually assembled using intentional non-rhymes, each with the necessary combination of dissimilar vowel and consonant sounds to suggest the dim-wittedness of the character.

There’s an equally devious ingenuity to Fiasco Theater Company’s take on “Into the Woods”. Directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, this is an unplugged, stripped-down version of the show. It unravels on a set that looks like a messy attic and generally encourages a charming impression of ramshackle looseness, though in fact everything is meticulously calibrated.

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