Kinetic Theatre arts youth academy’s production of Into The Woods Jr was performed in the Atrium USW. Having seen many of Kinetic’s productions in the past, including many of their Jr shows, my expectations were already set very high. Kinetic always produce high quality and professional productions that receive the highest praise and Into The Woods is no different. In fact, I personally think that this is one of Kinetic’s Youth’s best performances. At first, I thought it was strange to perform this show as it is one of Disney’s more dark and mysterious stories but the children managed to execute the show perfectly. One of the best things about this production specifically was that you can see the enjoyment and passion that these children have for performing. You can see many of the children getting very involved and having a good time which is so nice from the audience’s perspective, especially if you are a parent of one of the cast members. The children managed to balance the sinister and dark nature of some scenes with the fun and happy aspects of others which is not an easy thing to do. The show opened with a dark song in which the children wore black capes and moved in a sinister fashion. This scheme was actually spooky for the audience which means both the directors and the cast did what they meant to do.
All of the cast clearly worked very hard with the ensemble always being in character and providing beautiful vocals when required. Each child knew their role within the story and performed it the best they could. One of my favorite performers in this show was Tilly Birch who played Milky White (the cow) while she was primarily there for ‘awh’ factor moments but also she was clearly trying her best and having loads of fun in the meantime. A highlight for this character was when they swallow all the items and have to ‘milk’ the cow, obviously as Tilly is a girl in a costume I was confused as to how they would do this. What they did was place the cup down and Tilly what I can only describe as the cutest little dance I have ever seen which had both awhhs and laughs from the audience. She appeared very confident on the stage and I believe that she is a star in the making. The baker and his wife, played by Sam Walter and FFion Morris, helped drive the entire narrative of the musical. The role of Baker in the film version was James Corden (who I was a little disappointed with) but Sam, in this performance, really made the character relatable and his wife acted with emotion which built a great sense of sympathy from the audience. The stand out in this show was Lexi Ricketts who played the witch. Lexi managed to own the stage every time she was on it and actually made the character very scary. Her acting and singing were both incredible and she clearly has a very bright future in the performing arts. Her rendition of Last Midnight was perfect and was definitely on a professional level. The narrator in this performance, played by Amelia Francis, also helped move the story along but also sounded fantastic while singing her songs. The princes and Jack, played by Theo Birch, Harry Smith and Ben Page were fun to watch and again were clearly enjoying their time on stage. The princes had great chemistry together and performed like a double act which caused many laughs from the audience. The wolf, played by Ben Cogan, had a jazz-esque manner (similar to the movie) and was also very entertaining to watch.
Overall, this is a family-friend show that shows the talent and skills of the young cast while creating atmosphere and emotion like a professional show. I would rate this performance 4 out of 5 stars and I would encourage you to watch this show to see the full potential of every child on display while at the same time supporting a local theatre company.