Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 musical Into the Woods, with book by James Lapine, has become a modern classic, and one of his most popular shows.

Brilliantly written, with many of its characters drawn from fairytales, it unites two very different acts, turning the idea of “happily ever after” on its head after the interval.

Into the Woods

Shubshri Kandiah, Justin Smith, Tamsin Carroll, Esther Hannaford in Into the Woods. Photo © Christopher Hayles

The difference between the two acts is accentuated – and then some – in this Belvoir production directed by Eamon Flack, which for the most part struggles to find its rhythm in Act 1, but comes together in Act 2.

The stories of familiar characters including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk are linked by the tale of a baker and his wife, who are trying to break a witch’s spell that has left them childless. As they all venture into the woods, the musical explores the themes of parents and children, storytelling and the consequences of your actions.

The Belvoir production, with set design by Michael Hankin and costumes by Micka Agosta, is staged around two...