Winding its way through these amazingly youth-talented woods, the 2022 High School Project has done this show proud, bringing to life Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s magnificent (and complicated) Into the Woods at the Grand Theatrein London, Ontario with a simple joy and excitement that is utterly infectious. It’s gloriously uplifting, these woods, seeing all of these high school students, so full of energy and talent, skip this renowned and much-loved youth mentorship program back to the stage with such vigor after two years of online programming. And it couldn’t have found a better spell to cast. “You wish to have the curse reversed?” Well, this proud return for the High School Project has all the ingredients it needs. It is both joyful and insightful, overflowing with a sublime youthful energy as the production and the organization opens up the world of theatre to a whole new audience with this adept staging of Into the Woods on the Grand Theatre‘s main stage, playing from September 20th to October 1st, 2022.
Brought to majestic life by a determined cast of dedicated and talented students, both on stage and in the equally important roles behind the scenes, such as stage management, props, wardrobe, scenic art, orchestra, donor relations, and entertainment marketing, this production of Into the Woods flies strong and high. It’s completely entertaining and worthy of the standing ovation it received when I saw it a few days ago thanks to director Saccha Dennis (Mirvish’s Come From Away) who finds a unique pathway and perspective in the reading room of a library, delivering a production that is both gleefully book-wormy, proud, and wonderfully wicked.