CLC's 'Sweeney Todd' provides just the right mix of humor, terror
The character of "Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," who murdered with the flick of a keenly sharp razor, has been stuff of legend since the 1400s. When Steven Sondheim brought him to life in his 1979 musical/opera it received eight Tony awards and quickly became an opera classic.
It is a challenging musical, calling for singers to spit out Sondheim's quick, witty plays on words, to sing in an operatic-style while retaining a popular musical theater sound, and to quickly change emotions from the comedic to gruesome. CLC's latest production of Sweeney Todd did it justice, and then some. The show was clear, precise and equally comedic and dark, leaving the "blood and guts" to the imagination with minimal but clever staging and lighting.
David Lundholm, as Sweeney, and Kelley Combs as Mrs. Lovett, make a perfect diabolical pair of murderous schemers - she for her tasty human "meat pies" and amorous designs on Sweeney; he, for his brutal revenge against any man and "Everyman " who has betrayed him. Their vocal power and range enthralls the audience, as does the innocent Ward, Johanna, played by Emily Chidlow and her eager suitor, Anthony, played by the equally talented, Ross Kugman.They both possess rich, operatic voices that can change at the tap of a blade into naive chatter and young bravado.
The judge, played by Chris Warren, is perfectly played as a lecherous, old man. The Beadle, played by DIno Mazetti, masters his role as the judge's sycophant henchman and Mac Myles deftly portrays the simple, eager lonely boy who befriends Lovett and Todd and provides the thrilling and surprising ending to the show. Lindsey Yates-Badtke, adds to the shocking revelation, as the Beggar Woman, who appears in each scene, alternately begging for alms and offering her prostitutional services. The choir is crisp, clean and beautiful - and the orchestra follows suit.
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