Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival: Everyman 2016 Presents Into the Woods

Everyman’s Open Air Theatre Festival is back and Cardiff is in store for some serious delights from this wonderful charity. They have created a secret world in the grounds of Sophia Gardens, where you will be taken on a journey like no other. Set under the stars, the wonderfully erected outdoor theatre is a place of wistful escapism and wonder.
We were delighted to attend Into the Woods, a musical interweaving several fairy tales into one. We arrived quite early for the show, but this was not a problem at all because nestled inside the site is a gorgeously decorated sitting area. Not only that but there are drinks and snacks on sale, programs to purchase and clean and convenient toilets.
If you’re feeling peckish then Bare Knuckle Pizza can fill the void with their handmade pizzas prepared before your very eyes and baked in their stone pizza oven. We had already eaten, but they smelt and looked divine! The prices were extremely reasonable too, with a margherita costing just £5.
Warren and I bought some cider and found a seat in the quaint covered area. We were very lucky to bump into Everyman Chair, Arnold Phillips. He was absolutely charming, and very passionate about the whole collaboration of the Everyman Open Air Theatre. We found out that Everyman is a charity, with volunteers working in every sector of the show. It was truly amazing to see the community of volunteers working so well together, passionate about every element it takes to produce such a large scale performance.
Whilst we were there we also overheard people discussing how, because of the low cost tickets, the shows are easily accessible for people from all walks of life, unlike some theatre ticket costs. For £15, you can be transported into a performance you’d pay well over £40 in any theatre, more in London.
After we’d chatted to a few people (mostly the wonderfully friendly staff) it was time to head through for the performance. We were treated so kindly by the staff, guided to our seats and when we sat down we were wowed by the gorgeous set. Well thought out, layered ad textured, it stood out against the back drop of the trees in Sophia Gardens. To the side of the stage stood a small enclosed area with the band seated and ready to go.
When the man who showed us to our seats stood on the stage to introduce the show I felt a sense of being pulled into the story physically, my jaw dropped and my heart sang along with the cast. Each member of the show was perfectly placed in their roles, embodying their characters and embracing the stage.
I absolutely adored the passion from each member of the cast, they gave 100% in each performance. The beauty of their voices combined with the lyrics and storyline moved me beyond words. I adored Cinderella; her voice was pure and she embodied the role perfectly. The princes were amazingly hilarious, they had me laughing each time they came onto the stage, their timing and expressiveness perfectly matched to the dialogue and lyrics.
I’d never really understood the point of Into the Woods until last night, the true meaning of appreciating the things we have in life and how we take a lot of it for granted. I adored the production, it moved me to tears and I left feeling a sense of wholeness within my own life.
It was a joy to be a part of such a wonderfully produced show, and I encourage all of you to get down there and support such a fantastic charity.
Into the Woods is running from 23rd June – 2nd July 2016.
Disclosure: I received free tickets to this production in exchange for a review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.


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