Saturday, August 26, 2006

Into the Woods


While I was in London, I tried to see Sunday in the Park with George, mainly because I've never seen a Stephen Sondheim musical. Unless Sweeney Todd is Sondheim. Oh, I guess it is. That was fun. Grotesque and absurd, but fun, and available on video.

So I'm watching a DVD of Into the Woods, a musical based on the combination of a few stories from Grimm:
Little Red Riding Hood
Rapunsel
Cinderella
Jack and the Beanstalk
What? A barren couple who have been cursed by a witch, and are collecting Jack's cow, Little's cape, Cinderella's slipper and Rapunsel's hair so that they can break the witch's spell and have a baby.

Sondheim is short choppy phrases of three to six syllables with tunes played on the black keys. All the tunes sound exactly the same. How does he do that? Perhaps it's a minimalist musical.

The fairy tales all reach their expected endings, the ugly old witch is turned into Bernadette Peters and a sign comes on the screen saying "Intermission." They have to make up the rest of the plot themselves. A female giant shows up to complain that Jack has killed her husband and demands justice. The second half is pretty violent and about half of the cast are killed.

There are a few good jokes and no good songs.

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