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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Studio East)

March 24, 2013


Cast of Sweeney Todd @ Studio East
Last Saturday evening, my daughter and I took in a show over at Studio East of Kirkland. It was the opening weekend of their two weekend production of Sondheim’s dark musical “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. Clearly, this is not your average musical. Who else but Sondheim could envision a marriage between song and culinary cannibalism? Lovers of “The Sound of Music” be forewarned, “Sweeney Todd” it is not recommended for children under 13 years of age due to some mature content. There will be no ‘Edelweiss’ in this production unless it is being used to spicy up Mrs. Lovett’s special ingredient meat pies.

Awaiting the beginning of the performance, I found myself anxious and full of trepidation. Not only does “Sweeney Todd” deal with a multitude of disturbing and adult concepts, but it portrays the world of London as an inhabitation of characters driven by their most base human desires. It is a dark world, where injustice and moral corruption reigns. I wondered if a cast of young adults and children, some as young as ten years of age, could truly bring that world to life? Could they convey and manifest upon the stage, the desperate conflict of good and evil within each one of us and yet still inspire and entertain the audience?

The answer for the most part is a resounding yes. Studio East does a solid job of bringing that dark world of "Sweeney Todd", played by the capable Christian Obert, to life but also in offering us some hope. Obert shows that he is equally at home playing a morose, tormented lead character like Sweeney Todd as he is playing humorous supporting characters like Rapunzel’s Prince (Into the Woods) or Mr. Trevor Graydon (Thoroughly Modern Millie). Todd, to his inevitable detriment, is so driven by hatred for those which have wronged him that he can see nothing else. Love and happiness are unrecognizable strangers to Todd, having been replaced with a single-minded focus for revenge on those who have hurt him. Obert does an admirable job in conveying this obsession; being blinded to all else around him.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (The Microsoft Theatre Troupe)

October 25, 2011


The Microsoft Theatre Troupe kicked off its 16th Season, October 20th with a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s unconventional comedic musical thriller, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Sweeney Todd tells the story of Benjamin Barker, a man who has had everything of value wrongfully taken from him including his freedom, his wife and daughter and his very own identify as he is forced to become Sweeney Todd. He returns from his false imprisonment in Australia only to discover that his wife has killed herself after being raped by the man who sentenced him to jail. It gets worse. Since the suicide of his wife, his daughter Joanna has been raised as a ward by very same man…Judge Turpin.