Macabre ‘Sweeney Todd’ a must see

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BY ANGELA HATCHER: Before a note is heard or a lyric is sung, the audience braces for an explosive and particularly eerie evening of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street’s chilling tale

BY ANGELA HATCHER: Before a note is heard or a lyric is sung, the audience braces for an explosive and particularly eerie evening of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street’s chilling tale

Under the fine musical direction of Damien Lorton, One More Productions’ presents an unsettling look into the crevices of the dank and darkest corners of 19th Century London and its pulsating characters through “Sweeney Todd.”

OMP’s veteran set designer Wally Huntoon and lighting designers Jon Hyrkas and Dan Baird set the mood, and from the moment the orchestra strikes a sound, this deliciously disturbing, frightfully witty, and savory entrée is ready to be devoured, one enormous bite at a time. 

David Stoneman portrays our protagonist; he makes this part his own. Stoneman presents an imposing and resonant-voiced Todd who is greatly believable, so any thoughts of others having starred in the role are completely a non-issue. 

However, it is Beth Hansen’s unparalleled portrayal of Mrs. Lovett that steals the show. Her depiction of Todd’s accomplice is worthy of a Tony Award-winning performance and her comedic timing is impeccable. 

Hansen said, “Mrs. Lovett is smarter than people think she is.” Hansen went on to say that she wanted to give “depth to the character” and she didn’t want her (Lovett) to be thought  of as “just comedy relief.” 

Oh, Hansen’s Mrs. Lovett is funny, she’s sassy and she’s everything a comedic “side-kick” should be, but alas, Hansen brings Lovett’s desperation, loneliness and longing to be loved to the forefront as tenderly and equally as she does her shameless and unabashed shocking behavior. 

Two featured characters who must be mentioned are Alex Bodrero as Pirelli and Danny Diaz as Tobias. 

Tom Patrick’s Judge Turpin is a love-to-hate character who makes that happen, and Josh Switzer’s (Anthony) keening vocals are superb. Others worthy of mention are: Bella Gil as Joanna, Erika Baldwin as Beggar Woman, Anthony Kairoaz as Anthony and Richard Ullrich as Jonas Fogg. 

The chorus clearly delivers and the ensemble rounds out the talented cast. “Sweeney Todd” is the story of a barber who was unfairly sent to prison for 15 years on a trumped up charge. Upon his return, he seeks revenge. He meets the owner of a failing meat pie shop, and together they come up with a killer idea for a partnership that will benefit them both for different reasons. 

Sweeney Todd” enjoys the juxtaposition of encompassing all the qualities of a truly sinister storyline along with Sondheim’s incredible operatic music and lyrics. 

Conducted by Kevin Homma, the powerhouse of OMP’s live orchestra piloted in by a thunderous operatic feel, enhances the urgency of “Sweeney Todd’s” complex and intricate Sondheim musical score. 

Matching the vengeful dramatic aspect of “Sweeney Todd” with its freakishly appealing wit and humor is a large part of what makes it one of Sondheim’s darkest masterpieces and one of the most incomparable and artistic musicals of our time. 

Is “Sweeney Todd” about passion, obsession, love, revenge, vengeance, blood-lust, the thrill of the kill or something else… as Hallowed Eve draws near once again, there is little time to decide… 

See for yourself. 

 

“Sweeney Todd”

The Gem Theatre 

12852 Main St. 

For tickets: 714-741-9550

For info: www.onemoreproductions.com 

Runs through Oct. 23