All-male expel adds new fold to ‘Sweeney Todd’
January 19, 2016 - accent chair
What’s this, we say? A “Sweeney Todd” with a heavyset, bearded Mrs. Lovett and a pale, ethereal immature male as Johanna?
Welcome to Theatre Out’s chronicle of a Stephen Sondheim musical. Not only gimmickry, David C. Carnevale’s reimagining of a strike play unfolds in an violent haven – London’s barbarous Bedlam, to be exact.
With a hold of “Marat/Sade”-like meta-theatrics, a asylum’s inmates, for whatever reason, re-enact a story of “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”
Framing device and gender changes aside, a prolongation typifies TO’s melodramatic output, with crafty garb work, outspoken performances and song direction. It also proves a 1979 musical’s coherence while injecting a Shakespearean sensibility, what with group personification all of a roles.
Carnevale’s source of a uncover negates a involuntary arrogance that a group cramped to Bedlam are happy – they simply adore low-pitched museum adequate to wish to order one of their favorite stories, and a blood-curdling one during that.
In a stark, bleak, chilling prologue, a inmates set adult a story with a opening number, “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.”
Soon we’re off and running, as Benjamin Barker (Kevin Carranza) earnings to London after carrying been poorly detained during a penal cluster of Botany Bay for 15 years. During a sea excursion he’s befriended by Anthony Hope (Vahan Oknayan), a kind immature male who regards him with sympathy.
Having altered his looks and adopted a name of Sweeney Todd, Barker sets about in his devise to accurate punish from Turpin (Tom Royer), a hurtful decider who had him banished.
A coiffeur by trade, Sweeney aims to captivate a decider to his coiffeur chair where he can fatally condense his throat. He’s aided by Mrs. Nellie Lovett (Jon Sparks), a baker who knew him as Barker and who, in a show’s executive irony, sees a approach for both to flourish.
Her brainstorm is that Sweeney will murder anyone who crosses him and, with beef prices carrying soared, she’ll use their strength as stuffing for her pies.
“Sweeney Todd” was a landmark Sondheim show, with lyrics that ring with a show’s themes of misanthropy, sourness and a vicious ironies life dishes out. Musical executive Stephen Hulsey’s diagnosis of a measure reinforces a distinguished music’s complexity, and a expel handles a final of a outspoken work clearly with ease.
In line with Sweeney’s sour distrust of all, Carranza wisely understates his discourse and outspoken work. In one of many examples of irony, Sweeney croons a gentle, low-pitched “Pretty Women” only as he’s about to cut Turpin’s throat.
“A Little Priest,” one of Sondheim’s biggest comic songs, advantages from Carranza and Sparks’ farcical delivery, any enjoying a other’s crafty wit in relating how any victim’s contention dictates a qualities of a pies they become. By contrast, “Johanna,” and Oknayan’s singing of it, proves it’s one of Sondheim’s loveliest regretful ballads.
In a lead role, Carranza creates a remote, Robert Downey Jr.-like persona, regulating those around him with a meaningful glisten while per them with cold disdain. His furious eyes bake with conviction, his heedful impression bristling with an invariable emplacement on a judge.
Sparks’ Mrs. Lovett is a candid, mild-mannered lady of elementary tastes and bourgeois values. She’s not fluttery or feminine, nor is Sparks’ opening campy or parodistic. She watches Sweeney’s any pierce with heated interest, clearly anticipating she can pierce from partner in crime to a some-more loving purpose as his poignant other.
Royer’s high-toned British accent bespeaks a judge’s lofty hire in society, though over a judge’s masochistic self-flagellation while singing “Johanna,” his work is radically pro forma. As a intent of his desire – and Anthony’s love – Frankie Rodriguez’s Johanna is a pure, ethereal immature creature.
In a splendidly luscious description as opposition coiffeur Pirelli, Dustin Thompson clearly relishes a over-the-top inlet of his role, delivering tasty Italian and Irish accents, while Diego Matthew Castro’s Beadle Bamford is a corpulent bully.
The environment allows for a simplified dress intrigue that’s good satisfied by Joey Baital. Lacking a technical comforts to emanate Sweeney’s elaborate pretence coiffeur chair, Carnevale uses sorrow bells and blood-red lighting to etch any throat-slashing, an effective approach to underscore a gruesome inlet of these moments.
In what amounts to desirous programming, most of Theatre Out’s arriving deteriorate is clinging to a works of Sondheim. “Marry Me a Little” in March, “Into a Woods” in Jun and, in October, a frequency seen 1974 low-pitched “The Frogs” should give Sondheim lovers copiousness on that to feast.
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