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SWEENEY TODD presented by The Carnegie & Commonwealth Theatre Company through Aug. 23. Read the show description.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, SWEENEY TODD as The Carnegie is very good.
Justin Glaser as the title character has a great voice, and makes Sweeney a more tragic character than I’ve normally seen him portrayed. Also in strong voice is Helen Anneliesa Raymond as Mrs. Lovett. She offers some great comic moments as Sweeney’s partner in crime as well as glimpses of the evil within. The scene with Tobias and the scarf was a character highlight for me.
The talent and performance quality doesn’t stop with the two leads. Across the cast are strong actors with voices to match, creating a very enjoyable production under the direction of Ken Jones.
Costume design by Dean Walz complimented by the wig and makeup design of Scott Reeder create great visual looks for many of the characters.
With no major complaints about the production, there were a few things that pulled me out of the moment that I thought worth mentioning.
As I said earlier, there was some great character work throughout the ensemble. I would caution a few of you not to let your character work steal focus from the leads. The first scene at the asylum with Anthony and Johanna would be an example of too much character business too close to a lead.
Although creating a visually balanced element by having two body chutes, logically the need for, or time spent by Sweeney rigging two chutes, doesn’t make sense. Also the decision to have The Beadle’s body “wrapped up” stands out since the killer NEVER took the time to wrap any of the others and left me at a loss for how quickly Tobias identified the body.
The decision to use the grey metal rolling stairs was problematic for me because the item is immediately recognizable as a modern piece of equipment. Either facing it, or constructing something similar in form and function would have served the show better. Also obvious was the cast member plugging in the light source for the furnace, twice.
Overall a very strong and enjoyable production of this dark Sondheim classic.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
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