Into The Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by James Lapine

A Northern Ireland Opera production, Lyric Theatre, Belfast

February 2022

Director: Cameron Menzies

Choreographer: Jennifer Rooney

Set and Costume Designer: Niall McKeever  

Lighting Designer: Kevin Treacy

Hair and Make-Up Design: Nuala Campbell

Milky White created by William Todd-Jones and Philippa O'Brien



'Menzies responded to Stephen Sondheim's intensely personal interrogation of fairy tales with a telling theatrical flair worthy of any European stage. 

On Niall McKeever's intricately tiered set, its receding timber-framed vortex exerting a dark gravitational pull into unexplored Jungian depths, Menzies accommodated fairy tale and morality fable, opera and music theatre with a panache that deftly situated itself in the dislocatingly intense hinterland between dream and waking'


'Capturing that sense of movement is scenographer Niall McKeever’s fabulous set. Dominating the stage of the Lyric is the enormous fractal vortex that pulls you into the show – like you’re being compelled through a dark forest path or swallowed down the belly of a wolf. It also mirrors the turbulent thoughts circling the minds of these ever-troubled characters

'Kudos too to McKeever for the costume design, which somehow manages to encompass everything from greasy denim and kitchen-sink realism to Highland dress and Arthur Rackham’s book of Irish Fairy Tales'


'The lights dim and the mist clears to reveal a towering wooden vortex, which will suck into its forbidding heart a jigsaw of human dreams, quests and ambitions'


'It’s staged in and around a stunning set by Niall McKeever: logs and ladders criss-crossing high above two staircases to form receding rings, as if leading deep into the subconscious. It suggests that the “woods” of the title aren’t only a place where dangerous urges come to the fore, but also a moral maze where (unlike in the original fairytales) the characters are confronted with the often disastrous consequences of what they wish for'



'First thing to draw the eye is the dazzling set designed by Niall McKeever; an architectural-like spiral of a eye made of wood and a constant throughout the running time. Character change is one of the main themes to the plot but the woods remain the same. Put simply a location and character in itself'


'We love the staging from Enniskillen-born designer Niall McKeever,  who provided a spectacular set and creative costumes – with a special mention to the superb Milky White – the best transformation of a bicycle I’ve ever seen!'


'Niall McKeever’s set is magnificent. Filling the height, width and depth of the Lyric’s stage, the suspended wooden spiral could be mistaken for a science fiction portal into another dimension. Reminiscent of something a National Theatre budget could build'


'The stage is transformed via Niall McKeever's set into a symbolic wooden forest, both sinister and inviting. For that's what Into the Woods is all about, the stuff of our fairy tales, good and bad'

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