Monday, November 10, 2014

Review of Porchlight Music Theatre's Sweeney Todd

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Sweeney Todd. The book was by Hugh Wheeler and the music and lyrics were by Stephen Sondheim. It was directed by Michael Weber and the music direction was by Doug Peck. It was about a man named Sweeney Todd (David Girolmo) who was a barber but he decided to kill people and then his friend Mrs. Lovett (Rebecca Finnegan) who lived downstairs decided to make pies out of the people he killed. It was not pretty, but I loved it! I loved this show a lot because it is funny but also terrifying. The first thing you see is this boy Toby (Miles Blim) with blood on his hands and a knife and there is this noise like a bell screaming. That is so effective because the lights have just come down and you wouldn't expect that to be the first thing you see! Even if you expect it, it will still be scary though! I absolutely loved this show. I had nightmares but in an awesome way!

When you walk into the theater you have to walk in through the oven, not an actual oven--there's no heat or anything--but there are all these red lights. Then you see a bunch of pies, meat pies, and they just look like regular pies. But then there is one (comment below if you see it when you see the show) with a finger sticking out of it. And I thought that was pretty disgusting, but I loved it. It was a good way to make you feel like you are actually there and you are actually in some sort of danger while you were watching the show.

I really liked the song "A Little Priest." I thought it was really funny, but it was very gross too. I liked how Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett seemed to just be goofing around with each other, but then you realize that they actually mean it! I really liked right at the beginning when she says, "try a little priest" because you never thought you would hear that sentence! They interacted sort of like flirting, but flirting with pies, which is not the most romantic setting. I enjoyed the way they sang too. They sang it very goofing-ly, which means that they sang it like they were having fun, but you could also realize their evil intents, and I think that takes acting skills! At this point you don't really feel that angry at them because they seem really innocent. In the first half of the play you understand why he wants to kill the Beadle (Matthew Austin) and the Judge (Edward J. MacLennan), but then he starts just killing random people that come into his shop, and I don't think that is very nice. I felt like during the second act you could tell that the playwright knew it was a bad thing, but at the end of the first act it seemed like the playwright was just having fun.

I thought Pirelli (Kevin Webb) was a very funny character. I think he might have been one of my favorite characters even though he was evil. I think he was more evil than the two main characters because he took care of Toby, like Mrs. Lovett, but he didn't take care of him very well because he just used him as a business opportunity. I really liked the shave-off that they did. I thought it was very funny because even just thinking of what a shave-off might be is funny. And when Signor Pirelli did not a-win, he was a-very upset. So he goes to the barber shop where Mr. Sweeney works, which I think is a pretty bad idea. If you are an enemy of Sweeney Todd, you should not go to his barber shop! Because that will make everything all the worse.

There were two lovers, and one of them was a young man named Anthony Hope (Javier Ferreira when I saw it) who was friend of Sweeney Todd's on an expedition. The other was Sweeney Todd's daughter, Johanna (Stephanie Stockstill). You can't ever forget her name because there is a an entire song that is basically "Jo - o- aaaaaaa -naaaa!" They wanted to run away but they couldn't because of her stupid guardian, the Judge, who ruins everything. Then they got caught together and he was sent away and they send Johanna to an insane asylum--just because. You like them because even though they are like a lovey-dovey couple, like the lovers in a Marx Brother's movie, they are making fun of that. You don't have to think of the idea that this is what actual being in love is like; you can just sit back and relax and laugh. I saw an understudy as Anthony, and I thought he was amazing!

I really loved Mrs. Lovett and Toby's song that they sang together. I thought it was very very sweet and I just hoped that everything would work out. And it was sad because you are pretty sure at this point that it is not going to work out for either of them. And SPOILER ALERT one of them gets thrown into an oven and the other one goes crazy after having a severed head drop into his hands and then kills somebody. In the song, he's telling her that no one will harm her, not while he's around because he loves her so much. You already liked them, but it makes them seem more sweet. I think they make you like Toby so much so that it will be more of a tragedy when he goes insane and kills someone. I liked this duet because it was like the only not-murderous or not-funny song that's in the show. I also liked the murderous and funny songs, but this was very heartwarming.

People who would like this show are people who like horror, pies, and facial hair. You learn that you can like people who are murderers and who bake people into pies. That is the weirdest thing I've said in my whole life. People should definitely go and see this show. I had a lot of fun and a lot of screams! I absolutely Lovett! (Get it?)

Photos:Brandon Dahlquist

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