Fairy Tale Revisionism

The last couple weekends for us were bookended with Fairy Tale retellings…

into_the_woods_playbill.jpg
Into the Woods playbill

The first was Into the Woods. We saw this at the local performing arts theater. Long before the Shrek movies mashed up all the popular children’s story characters, Sondheim’s stage play satirically did it right. Cleverly, the “happy ever after” comes to the three parties (the baker husband and his barren wife, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and his mom) at the end of the first act. Then, it all goes south thereafter.

Wicked playbill
Wicked playbill

Last weekend, we capped off the twisted fairy tale venture with Wicked. Wow, what an amazing musical! For those who don’t know, Wicked tells the sympathetic tale of the Wicked Witch of the West from her perspective. Dorothy and her dog (misnamed “Dodo” by the Good Witch) turn out to be veritable grave robbers, stealing the Wicked Witch of the East’s shoes. And there are juicy backstory surprises with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.

I really didn’t know quite what to expect, but had heard many high praises. And sure enough, they were all warranted. Technically, it was very creative and huge in scale. The set design was an amazing clock-like machine with spinning gears. The witches, both “good” and “bad”, took flight in creative ways. Seeing the flying monkeys fly for the first time was quite a sight.

2 Replies to “Fairy Tale Revisionism”

  1. We saw a local teen theatre group put on Into the Woods a few weeks ago. They did a good job and it was fun. I had listened to the soundtrack many times back when the musical first came out so I knew the story, but it was fun to see it played out on stage.

    Wicked is one that I hope to catch someday. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Wicked sounds like a very interesting re-telling Rob; The Wizard of Oz was always one of my favourite stories. Not so long ago we went to the theatre to see a re-telling of the Maui myths, which likewise involved the cast taking flight with the aid of wires and ribbons. It certainly makes for more exciting viewing when the action takes place not only on stage, but above it.

    Incidentally, are you familiar with Badjelly the Witch by Spike Milligan (from the Goons)? This is a very amusing wicked witch tale—well known in NZ for some reason.

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