Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (review)

Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (review)
Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (review)
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THE PLAY: Stephen Sondheim’s classic about a barber consumed by vengeance, who dispatches his victims with his blade and sends them to be cooked into his landlady’s meat pies.

THE PRODUCTION: In the leads, Alexander Sapp and Bianca Bryan are so in sync, the show crackles every minute they’re together. His potent vocals and tireless intensity are riveting, while her character is delightfully devilish. The rest of the cast is loaded with talent. Notable are Matt Polson’s stalwart hero, Audra Honaker’s hilarious Pirelli and Matt Shofner’s sweet waif. Director Deejay Gray has inventively staged the show for dramatic impact, while highlighting plenty of callously comic moments for contrast. The up close staging allows us to appreciate the rich complexity of these powerful performances. Musical Director John-Stuart Fauquet gets equal credit for this show’s success: The voices blend beautifully and you never notice that he and Marissa Resmini (violin) are the entire accompaniment. The music dynamically fills the theatre. Gray also designed the set, which works well as a kill room with a few simple props. Michael Jarett’s evocative lights add yet another dramatic element (although the actors sometimes missed their tight spotlights). The costumes by Ruth Hedberg work well, but Mrs. Lovett’s dress seems weird in the mix. Sondheim’s lyrics are brilliantly clever and (thanks to Joey Luck’s sound design) it’s wonderful that you can appreciate almost every word.  Running time: 2:30

THE POINT: Every aspect of this deliciously wicked production is top-notch. A season high point. (BTW, the entire run is already sold out.)

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

At TheatreLAB thru 3/1


Photos by Tom Topinka

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