“Once upon a time…”
Yup, the addiction’s real. Whether collecting Nectar points obsessively to get enough for free Eurostar trips or looking at theatre programmes in Paris, Amsterdam and beyond, the limits I had imposed on myself have been well and truly shattered and amongst other traditions, I now appear to making an annual pilgrimage to Théâtre de Châtelet’s Sondheim production – 2014 seeing Into the Woods making its bow in front of a Parisian crowd after the joys of Sunday… last year.
Lee Blakeley’s production is sumptuously done – a 30 piece orchestra brings Sondheim’s score vibrantly to life under David Charles Abell’s baton, and selecting a cast that is as much as operatic as it is musical theatre lends a certain sense of class, of intelligent musicality that is highly enjoyable. It may miss the playfulness that the Open Air Theatre’s recent production had in spades but the quality here feels on a different level, not in securing Fanny Ardant’s voice for the giant.
Beverly Klein’s witch, Francesca Jackson’s Little Red Riding Hood, Christine Buffle’s Baker’s Wife, Damian Thantry’s handsome prince and Pascal Charbonneau’s Jack…I could name pretty much the entire ensemble for how impressed I was with them. Alex Eales’ gorgeous tree-strewn set is incredibly lavish given the short run and Mark Bouman’s costumes hit the nail on the head just right – too many puppets were involved for my liking but hey, you can’t have everything.